There seems to be little honor in corporate America

March 31, 2009

The federal government should not be bailing out domestic auto companies. It should not try to run them either. I am uncomfortable that the Obama administration felt it had to be the one to give CEO Rick Wagoner the boot out of  GM. Maybe the stockholders should have – I don’t know. Don’t even know if they had the power to.

It just doesn’t seem like the government ought to be that intamately involved in business.

And to make matters more bewildering, Wagoner reportedly may leave with a $23 million golden parachute. He had supposedly recently agreed to work for a $1 per year salary, it must be noted.

Maybe he felt guilty about having to beg or to extort the federal government out of billions of dollars in taxpayer money for a bailout. And maybe he felt a little bad about the fact that during his tenure as CEO, GM’s stock went from $70 per share to $3. He can’t blame it all on the worldwide economic downturn and that fuel spike last summer, since even in the good year of 2005 his company had lost $10.6 billion and suffered a 75 percent drop in its stock value under his leadership. (I got all those numbers out of an online Wall Street Journal story.)

But he’ll take his millions and run. There really is no shame in corporate America.

Most or all of these people who have led their companies down the drain and then had the audacity to ask for (demand?) taxpayer bailouts should have taken the traditional Japanese approach, no, not commit suicide, but resigned in the face of dishonor they had brought upon their companies and themselves.

As to their golden parachutes, well that is just part of the good old boy culture that has run corporate America where no one loses except the stockholders and the man and woman on the street, and oh, yes, the displaced workers, simply referred to as  “labor”.

One does not have to be anti-corporate to call for a new system of personal honor and morals and eithics and integrity, although maybe one has to be a bit of an idealist to do so.

To some extent we have reaped what we have sewn throughout society. Morals and honor and ethics and integrity  are lacking perhaps at all levels.

P.s.

The Obama administration has made it plain bankruptcy might be in the offing for both GM and Chrysler (and why didn’t we go there to begin with?). Strangely and thankfully, Ford so far is surviving without bailout money. And American workers are turning out cars in the border states and South working for foreign auto makers and are glad to be working even if their wages are lower than those up north.

I understand the United Auto Workers union might think it can hold out for retaining some of its more bloated benefits because the new administration is more labor friendly. Seems like they might be happy just to retain or recover their jobs for now. And maybe management may have to have an attitude adjustment, at least until the market comes back,  as well.