Humble pie alert
. While fun
to watch, the humbling of the imperial auto CEOs offers a scary reminder of the power your creditors have over you. First the arrogant Wagoner, Nardelli and Mulally flew in on private jets, demanded bailouts without a turnaround plan, and scoffed at the notion of cutting their $20 million pay packages. Now, in a turnabout that is comically self-parodying, they drive their own cars from Detroit, offer at least the illusion of detailed survival plans, and trumpet their thirst to earn a dollar a year. "It’s all part of a learning experience for me," Mulally told the New York Times by phone during his road trip to DC. "I think it’s really important that I drive to Washington to show that Ford gets what Congress is saying."
All good fun. But substitute "China" for "Congress" and you get a preview of the kind of "learning experience" the entire country may go through if we don’t stop borrowing billions from the Chinese. Before long it’ll be the American president who to Chinese eyes looks like today’s clueless car guys when he tries to throw America’s weight around on Taiwan or human rights while begging for continued billions in Treasury bond purchases at the same time.