There’s been plenty of outrage in the last 24 hours since the NY Daily News reported that CitiGroup, a recipient of about $45 billion in bailout money from the taxpayers, has ordered a spiffy $50 million jet to haul its execs around.
“To permit Citigroup to purchase a plush plane — foreign-built no less — while domestic auto companies are being required to sell off their jets is a ridiculous double standard,” said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, yesterday.
Who’s responsible for allowing companies that receive taxpayer-funded bailouts to spend it on luxury business jets? The U.S. Senate.
Two weeks ago, the Senate removed a provision that would bar companies receiving bailout cash from buying new jets, and the reason shows the left-hand-doesn’t-know-what-the-right-hand-is-doing nature of economic stimulus.
Kansas is the center of the domestic general aviation industry. It, too, is hurting. If the companies there don’t sell business jets, people lose jobs. Cessna, for example, cut 2,200 people last week. The Kansas senatorial legislation lobbied — hard — to get the provision removed from the TARP package.
This morning, Citi announced it would not buy the French-made jet afterall.
Granted the foreign-made component of the issue is part of the outrage, but in general it’s based on buying a jet at all. So on the one end, economic stimulus is intended to help businesses build business jets, and on the other end, other companies — also receiving taxpayers funds — are criticized for buying the product the other soon-to-be-government-subsidized business sells. It’s not in the best interest of taxpayers, they say.