Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GM’s “no plan” more of a plan than Citi’s “plan”

Days after the Big Three automakers were sent home without any supper—told to come back after Thanksgiving with a “plan” that shows them to be deserving of $25 billion of taxpayer congressional Treasury largess—Super-sized financial institution Citibank was handed roughly that much cash in an attempt to prevent the bank’s complete collapse. (That is new money added to the estimated $25 billion Citi has already received under the Paulson TARP/injection/bailout extravaganza.)

But one of the big car manufacturers, General Motors, already seems to be ahead of Citibank as far as making plans for financial stability is concerned. GM’s Buick division announced that it has cancelled its five-year, $40 million endorsement deal with star golfer Tiger Woods, while Citibank has confirmed that its 20-year, $400 million deal for the naming rights to the new home of Major League Baseball’s New York Mets is still very much a “go.”

GM’s Chief Executive, Richard Wagoner, was lambasted for taking a private jet to last week’s congressional hearings (and that was bad form), but just a week earlier, the company had already decided to let go of two of its five private jets (all five are leased, not owned). General Motors has also made many other (arguably small) cuts in an effort to trim costs—from slashing worker uniform stipends and buying cheaper wipe-up towels, to trimming the size of test fleets and turning off escalators at corporate HQ after 7 p.m.

These cuts could fall under the “penny wise and pound foolish” category, but they stand in striking contrast to the kinds of cuts Citi has made:

At Citigroup, executives had announced more than 27,000 job cuts, including ones shed through the sale of the company’s Indian outsourcing operations and German banking franchise and prior layoffs. But the bank stepped up its efforts on Monday with plans to eliminate 17,000 workers in the coming months. It will also cut an additional 7,000 or so employees by divesting businesses in the future and could shed more jobs through attrition.

The job cuts would be in addition to about 23,000 layoffs already this year and leave the bank with about 300,000 employees, down from its peak of about 375,000 in the fourth quarter of 2008. And Citi executives said there could be more layoffs ahead as they moved forward with plans to reorganize the company next year.

Meanwhile, back at GM, failure to get a bridge loan this year could result in the direct loss of some 120,000 jobs—with an additional seven-and-a-half times as many spin-off jobs potentially lost as a ripple effect. That’s over a million jobs total from GM’s hardships—and that doesn’t figure in Ford or Chrysler.

Though the failure of another big financial institution is likely not in the country’s economic interests, either, based on recent history, it is hard to argue that Citi is more deserving of its backstop than America’s automakers.

(photo by me)
(cross-posted on The Seminal and capitoilette)

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



10:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home