Isn’t this precious? Guess who is claiming to be a victim of all the aid Uncle Sam has been showering on Detroit automakers? Toyota or Honda? Nope. O.K. then, American taxpayers? Haven’t been heard from lately.
Believe it or not it is Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Chrysler, the only automaker to be bailed out twice by the government in half a century. Detroit Free Press auto columnist Tom Walsh reports that Marchionne took a jab Wednesday at GM and Ford. Writes Walsh:
He suggested the competition is uneven because these companies are getting help from Uncle Sam -- GM still 26% owned by the U.S. Treasury and Ford having been awarded $5.9 billion in federal retooling loans, while Chrysler's request for Department of Energy retooling loans is stuck in limbo.
"One got DOE funding, and the other received equity capital," Marchionne said of GM and Ford, "so I'm the only guy sitting over here who's paid back everything with interest. I don't want any favors, I just don't want to be mistreated."
The shamelessness and mendacity of this comment is astounding, even by the rather lofty standards of corporate CEOs. Even the Treasury admitted that American taxpayers incurred a $1.3 billion loss on their “loan” to Chrysler although the true figure is closer to $6.4 billion as Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll reported in May. Yet Marchionne claims he didn’t receive any favors and doesn’t want to be mistreated?
So what is this poor mistreated, CEO doing with the all this money he didn’t get from Uncle Sam. He is “spreading the wealth” to....his own workers. He announced today that all of Chrysler’s hourly workers would get an average of $1,500 in bonuses this year. “This is a reward that you have earned,” Marchionne told them in an email. “The more difficult the task, the more satisfying it is to overcome all obstacles…. Your efforts rewrote the history that so many naysayers had forecast.”
No, jerk, U.S. taxpayers’ empty wallets did.
My piece on how much the GM bailout is going to cost taxpayers here.