Bush did it before, and he (and his administration) are doing it again. It seems that weekends and any time not burdened by the weight of the free market are excellent times for the government, and specific companies, to do their dirty work.
Citigroup is a great company. They gave me a break in 1979 that no one ever gave me, and convinced me then that they are an effervescent agent of change. Seriously. Citibank was doing things in 1979 that I see startups doing today. Sure, they’ve become a behemoth. Sure, some of their tentacles are probably doing good.
But the bottom line is that a company (in which I was considering investing) is in really terrible, and possible terminal, difficulty.
And my response, in this coldly capitalist society, is that Citibank, like every other banking organization, deserves the same consideration for a bailout as General Motors, Ford, and even (despite their non-public status) Chrysler.
Look: if we’re looking for a good ROI, then I am personally a much more likely prospect for a postiive ROI than any of these companies. Put $1,000,000 into my life, and I will ensure that I will be cash positive for the rest of my life. Give the car companies, and Citi Group, several tens of billions of dollars, and we will get… um… I don’t know? from them. And that will provide the American Public with how much money?
I would be more than a little confused if I didn’t have questions. Certainly, as a taxpayer/stockholder, I definitely have questions about the way in which my tax dollars are being redeployed as investment dollars.
The American Treasury, as a taxpayer and voter, does not have the right to take my hard-earned an ill-transferred tax dollars, and turn them into investments in private companies. I would much rather have those funds (to the 1/10th or 1/000th), invested in ways for me to earn a decent, tax-positive living in the new economy.
Postscript: In the space of my writing this post and going to sleep, Citi Bank has garnered $300 billion dollars in loan guarantees for toxic funds (which had heretofore been rejected as a viable path for spending dollars) from the government. I am angry and ashamed.