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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Grassley calls on automakers to cut executive salaries

By Jason Hancock | 11.14.08 | 11:15 am

In a letter to the leaders of the big three U.S. automakers, Sen. Chuck Grassley said that before receiving a government bailout executives should follow the example of former Chrysler head Lee Iacocca and cut their own pay.

“Lee Iacocca essentially worked for pennies to demonstrate leadership and forcefully prove to his colleagues that he was ready to make sacrifices to reinvigorate Chrysler,” Grassley said. “Today’s executives could learn a lot from this example. They should take every step possible, including cutting executive salaries and bonuses, and exhaust all alternatives before coming to the taxpayers for tens of billions of dollars in help.”

The letter, which was sent yesterday to the CEOs of Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Chrysler, is below.

November 13, 2008

Mr. Alan R. Mulally
President and Chief Executive Officer
Ford Motor Company
1 American Road
Dearborn, Michigan 48126-2798

Mr. G. Richard Wagoner, Jr.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
General Motors
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, Michigan 48265

Mr. Robert Nardelli
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Chrysler
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn Hills, Michigan 48326-2766

Dear Mr. Mulally, Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Nardelli:

I understand that your company has been lobbying the Department of Treasury and congressional leaders for additional financial assistance via loans or through inclusion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program. While I understand the economic turmoil that many American businesses face today, I think it’s appropriate to ask those who seek a bailout from the federal government to do everything they can to first cut internal expenditures, including and especially executive salaries and compensation packages.

Most hardworking, taxpaying citizens would like to see all companies, including yours, pursue alternatives to a federal bailout. For example, some experts believe that Chapter 11 bankruptcy would help companies succeed in the long run by allowing them to reorganize while continuing production. They argue that such an alternative will preserve jobs while a handout would only serve as a band-aid to the problems caused by a lack of innovation in your industry.

However, should the federal government assist your company and other auto manufacturers who have failed to make sound business decisions, it’s important to remember that any funding you receive is money from the pockets of American taxpayers. Many men and women are pinching pennies just to get by, making sacrifices and changing their lifestyles to stay in their homes, send their children to school, and grow their retirement savings. I think it’s highly appropriate, if not absolutely necessary, that you do the same.

Most American taxpayers are rightly concerned about the federal government coming to the aid of companies who are in financial trouble, possibly as a result of their own mismanagement and poor business decisions. I agree that it’s time to stifle corporate excess and stop rewarding bad business practices so that we are not providing an incentive for irresponsible behavior in the future. That is why I have asked the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve to rein in the executive compensation, travel, and other expenses of the companies and banks that are getting federal financial aid.

As you and your colleagues continue to seek federal financial assistance, I urge you to keep in mind the actions taken by former Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Lee Iacocca. When his company was saved from bankruptcy by the Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, he slashed his yearly salary to just $1.00 and those of his executives by as much as 10 percent. Lee Iacocca essentially worked for pennies to demonstrate leadership and forcefully prove to his colleagues that he was ready to make the same sacrifices they would have to make in order to reinvigorate Chrysler. Allow me to quote straight from Mr. Iacocca:

“I began by reducing my own salary to $1.00 a year. Leadership means setting an example. When you find yourself in a position of leadership, people follow your every move. I don’t mean they invade your privacy, although there’s some of that, too. But when the leader talks, people listen. And when the leader acts, people watch. So you have to be careful about everything you say and everything you do. I didn’t take $1.00 a year to be a martyr. I took it because I had to go into the pits. I took it so that when I went to Doug Fraser, the union president, I could look him in the eye and say, ‘Here’s what I want from you guys as your share,’ and he couldn’t come back to me and ask: ‘You SOB, what sacrifice have you made?’ That’s why I did it, for good, cold, pragmatic reasons. I wanted our employees and our suppliers to be thinking: ‘I can follow a guy who sets that kind of example.’”

Mr. Iacocca stated that a government-backed loan was not the only thing that saved Chrysler when it was on its deathbed. Rather, it was the “equality of sacrifice” that allowed Chrysler to survive and return to profits. He stated, “It wasn’t the loans that saved us, although we needed them badly. It was the hundreds of millions of dollars that were given up by everybody involved.”

As you attempt to lead your company out of the red, and especially if you intend to do so with the assistance of federal funds, I urge you to emulate Mr. Iacocca and be the first employees of your companies to make a personal sacrifice. Hardworking American taxpayers, including me, expect it.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
United States Senator

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


Comments

  • http://www.wheelywheel.com wheelywheel

    These is a good idea. Cutting off some salaries of executives so they can continue business. Those salaries can give others a change to continue their work.

    But I heard that GM is releasing almost 3K employees and decrease production about 50%. Which will cost a lot of problems to them. They should continue building good cars and exporting it to other countries.

  • http://www.thepartsbin.com truck parts

    These is a good idea. Cutting off some salaries of executives so they can continue business. Those salaries can give others a change to continue their work.

    But I heard that GM is releasing almost 3K employees and decrease production about 50%. Which will cost a lot of problems to them. They should continue building good cars and exporting it to other countries.

  • http://www.thepartsbin.com truck parts

    These is a good idea. Cutting off some salaries of executives so they can continue business. Those salaries can give others a change to continue their work.

    But I heard that GM is releasing almost 3K employees and decrease production about 50%. Which will cost a lot of problems to them. They should continue building good cars and exporting it to other countries.

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