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.
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.