After a phone call from the Obama administration, Citigroup cancelled delivery of a new, $50 million Falcon corporate jet.
Call it a small victory for American taxpayers who are footing the bill for $45 billion in bailout bucks — so far — for the ailing financial giant.
Over at Bank of America, former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain agreed to repay the bank the $1.2 million he spent to redecorate his office but Thain also got a subpoena Tuesday from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who wants to know why Thain paid out billions in bonuses to Merrill Lynch executives just before the company admitted it lost $15 billion in one quarter and then went shopping for bailout money.
These guys are supposed to be smart?
The absolute arrogance of these high-dollar business types is staggering. Auto industry CEOs fly into Washington on multi-million dollar private jets to beg Congress for a bailout. When that stunt got them laughed out of town, they returned in fuel-efficient hybrids but flew home in style afterward.
Meanwhile, at least 70,000 American workers lost their jobs in the first two days of this week and that’s just the number laid off from big companies. It doesn’t count the thousands more sent packing by smaller employers or the high numbers of self-employed who closed down their businesses.
Citigroup may not get their new $50 million private jet but the company still has a large fleet of other private aircraft at its disposal. So does Bank of America and all the other industries getting taxpayer money in the bailouts du jour soap opera in Washington. Those who don’t have access to private jets usually fly first class and have a rented limo waiting for them when they arrive at their destination.
The bank bailout is called TARP, a four-letter acronym that stands for "Troubled Asset Relief Program." I can think of some other four-letter words that better describe the program and none of them need translation.
While millions of Americans lose their homes, their health insurance and their part of the American dream, the fat cats who run big business continue to live large and milk the system for all they can.
Eventually, the federal government may have to take over the troubled banks. They may also end up owning other ailing industries.
Will this be better or worse? We’re talking about turning major industries over to the same government that runs the U.S. Postal Service.
Now that’s a frightening thought.