Wonder what happened to the hard earned money you paid in taxes? I can't account for all of it but $540 billion that went to six financial institutions is being used, in part, to operate 27 corporate jets. I may be the only one who feels this way, but I don't think the survival of the global economy depends on using taxpayer money to pay for financial executives to fly on their own corporate jets.
Here are the six financial institutions with the amount of taxpayer money they received and the number of corporate jets they're still flying:
- American International Group Inc (NYSE: AIG). $150 billion, seven corporate jets
- Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). $330 billion, four jets. (The $330 billion includes Citi's initial $25 billion in TARP money plus its more recent $305 billion in loan guarantees.)
- Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC). $25 billion, one jet
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC). $25 billion, nine jets -- its CEO Ken Lewis used $127,643 worth of its corporate jets
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) . $25 billion, four jets -- its CEO Jamie Dimon's personal use of its corporate aircraft totaled $211,182 in 2007
- Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS). $10 billion, two jets -- its CEO John Mack's personal use of its corporate aircraft totaled $358,882 in 2007
Will anything be done to stop this? Not under the current administration. Meanwhile, the hundreds of billions of our taxpayer money is not going to make loans like it was supposed to. Instead it will go to pay bonuses -- by my estimate, even though bonuses for 2008 will be down by 50%, that's still $16.6 billion worth of taxpayer money going to pay millions of dollars to the very people who got us into this mess.
Meanwhile, corporate jet makers are trying to defend the indefensible by arguing that their executive play toys are flying offices. Well guess what? If executives can't get meaningful work done flying business or first class on a commercial flight then maybe they should just find a less expensive way to do business -- maybe they can sit in their offices and use online videoconferencing instead of flying.
If my money is going to bail them out of their bad business decisions, I don't want them wasting it on these executive toys.
Peter Cohan is president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates. He also teaches management at Babson College and edits The Cohan Letter