Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They've Got Plane Money

ABC's Brian Ross reports that JPMorgan Chase, which got $25 billion in TARP funds, is going to spend $138 million on two new luxury corporate jets and a fancy new hangar to store them in. A company spokesman claims they're not using TARP money to buy the planes, but that's disingenuous.

Let's put this in terms you and I can relate to.

Suppose your roof is severely damaged in a hailstorm. You contact your insurance company, they send out an appraiser, he figures out how much it'll take to repair or replace your roof, and the company sends you a check.

Now, that money is yours, and you can use it to fix the roof or not. Let's say you decide to buy a car instead. The insurance company doesn't care -- your policy didn't mandate that you use the money for home repair -- as long as you don't go back to them later complaining about this problem you have with your roof.

However, suppose you didn't go to the insurance company but went to your neighbors instead. You have your hand out as you beg them to help you fix your roof. They've known you a long time, and several of them agree to give you the money (not a loan, but a gift). But again, you don't fix the roof, you buy the car. Don't the neighbors have the right to be pretty pissed off at you?

It reminds me of an old joke.

A guy's walking down the strip in Las Vegas when another man approaches him, asking for money because his wife is in the hospital and really needs an operation. The first man thinks for a second and then asks, "I'd like to help you out, but how do I know you won't take my money, go into the casino, and blow it all at the roulette table?" The second man answers, "Oh, you don't have to worry about that. I've got gambling money."