Save Detroit: Sack the CEOs, increase mileage, develop the flying DeLoreanPosted: Friday, November 21, 2008
I’ve been so fed up with these gas-guzzling SUVs, I won’t let any of them merge in front of me in traffic, won’t let any of them pull out in front of me if they’re coming out of Chili’s or Bed Bath and Beyond (strangely, I make an exception for Hummers, because if you’re driving one of those behemoths in this economy, you got some balls, and I tip my hat to you).
That there’s so many fuel-inefficient SUVs on the road is primarily the fault of Detroit’s Big Three leadership, which chose to make a short-term killing on these fuckers while the economy was relatively good and credit was cheap and easy. (And, I’d wager, many American consumers basically can’t afford to give them up, locked as they are into lease arrangements and with no cash anyway to buy a new, smaller vehicle.)
So now, the private-plane-riding CEOs head to Congress, gold-rimmed hats in hand, and ask for a bailout of their own.
I say, give it to them.
Because the CEOs are basically holding thousands, perhaps millions, of blue-collar workers hostage. Ask yourself, if the Big Three go under, who’s going to be out of work longer: your average lunch-pail plant worker, or Rick Wagoner, Alan Mulally, and Robert Nardelli?
So help them out. But under these conditions:
First, immediately ask for and accept the resignations of the Big Three’s CEOs. No golden shower parachute (like this cocksucker). Just bye-bye.
Second, ask for the resignations of 51% of their board of directors, including the chairman (not sure if this is the same as the CEO, but I’m rolling here, so stay with me). You can decide amongst yourselves who’s going to go — I don’t care; they’ll be replaced by members of Greenpeace.
Third, quit your bitching about how tough the federal mileage standards are (they were still bitching in the summer) and immediately implement a minimum gas mileage standard of 35 mpg per sedan and 25 mpg per non-commercial pick-up and SUV (in New York, that’s just about every four-wheeled truck without lettering on the side of it) for 2010 vehicles (one of the most “fuel-efficient” super-big SUVs Detroit was producing came in at 20 mpg (city) 22 (highway). Naturally, Chrysler is ending production of even this one). That really shouldn’t be a lot to start with, especially the SUV/pick-up truck category. If you have to sacrifice horsepower, so be it. So what if your trucks can’t haul a building, or whatever those ridiculous hemi adds claim.
Fourth, pull all current advertising (TV, magazines, Web) for any of your products that do not meet the 2010 mpg standard I just mentioned. However, so you don’t kill the advertising and media industry, you need to pay for ads out of your executive compensation budget apologizing to the American people for getting us into this mess. No flag-waving jingoism either, like your over-sincere Like A Rock ads that have for years peddled further dependence on foreign oil to America. These new ads are to run prominently (a few Super Bowl spots sound good, including at the first commercial break). Again, the cash for this comes out of the Golden Parachute Fund.
Fifth, make the new CEOs actually live in the City of Detroit — what a symbolic move for both your blue-collar base and in supporting urban planning and living, which would (by implication) show support for walking to places rather than driving. No commuting home to Seattle from Michigan, like Ford’s soon-to-be-ex-CEO.
Seventh, if you can exceed my 2010 mileage standards by 10 mpg on a minimum of 75% of your 2010 production lines (that’s actual cars produced, not concept cars) and sell, say, 75% of that number, you don’t have to pay back 25% of the annual value of the bailout bucks. Call it our own version of publicly funded R&D. Bonus points (and another 25% gift) for developing the Back to the Future flying DeLorean that runs on garbage before 2015, the year the movie claimed Mr. Fusion would be powering our flying cars high above Hill Valley (Blade Runner places Syd Mead’s flying spinners four years later in 2019; we’ll give you 20% off if you can do it by that year).
It’s a sad fact that we need to do this, but these CEOs are holding a financial gun to the collective heads of our blue-collar families (and all the workers connected to them, from salesmen to auto parts employees to the white-collar developers and engineers). Some say we need to tear the industry down before it can be rebuilt and reborn, and often I agree with that sentiment. But if we follow the ol’ Icepick’s advice here, we can basically still do that and save the jobs of as many true hard-working Americans as we can.