When the New York Post
revealed that CitiGroup, recipients of $45 billion in public largesse, had ordered a $50 million corporate jet
("JUST PLANE DESPICABLE"), reaction was swift and brutal. The Times
noticed that Barney Frank had removed a TARP provision
that would have prevented such a purchase. Voices from the right
and the left
denounced Citigroup. So did Senator Carl Levin
and President Obama
Citigroup backed off today. They even instructed employees that they would have to do their future business travel in coach.
The media continue to ride the company -- "CitiGroup continues to bungle PR," says New York's Daily Intel -- but are mainly pleased with themselves for forcing Citigroup's hand, as well they should be. Now maybe they can similarly flog the less glamorous story that Citigroup and other big banks are scaling back on their loans, which would seem to defeat the purpose of the TARP.