After months of headlines highlighting profligate spending by the very same companies coming to the federal government begging life support, it would appear that someone finally gets it. GM's decision to end its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods is demonstrative of the type of action that every company seeking federal assistance needs to take.
I can only hope that GM's sound judgment will be contagious to other companies seeking federal assistance -- particularly Citigroup, which within the span of one week announced that it will eliminate another 52,000 jobs, that it is 'committed' to spending $400 million to plaster its name on the new Mets stadium, and that it needs an additional $20 billion from the government to stay afloat. Similarly, I pray that AIG -- which still seems to think that the Troubled Asset Relief Program was designed to sneak executives off to the spa to relieve the stress of driving their company into the ground -- will take heed of GM's example. This type of spending is indefensible and unacceptable, and it must come to an end.
My constituents in Maryland did not turn over their hard-earned wages to fund a baseball stadium in New York, a soccer jersey in the UK, or a multi-million dollar bonus for an executive whose poor judgment helped put us here in the first place.
Until now, the institutions seeking and receiving TARP funds have adopted the attitude of business as usual, expecting the American taxpayer to subsidize their parties and favorite sports teams. It is very encouraging that GM has taken the lead in exercising fiscal responsibility. Perhaps the Citigroups and AIGs of the world will soon follow suit.