I understand that Congressmen will jump at any opportunity for sanctimonious grandstanding, but this AIG thing has really gotten out of hand. We now have Republican Congressman calling for Tim Geithner’s resignation — even Democrats are getting in on the act, criticizing Tim Geithner for failing to adequately direct his attention to the potential political problems %0.01 percent of AIG’s TARP funds might cause. The man is trying to save the banking system. I’m not suggesting that Treasury’s response can’t be criticized, or that the bonuses aren’t tone-deaf and well, outrageous, but of all the things to blame on Tim Geithner, is our chief complaint going to be inattention to politics? Anyway, this is all a long way of introducing what I sincerely hope doesn’t become the next outrage, Citi’s $10 million remodeling of their executive suite.
Citigroup said in a statement that the construction is part of a global space-saving initiative. The bank plans to reduce its office space worldwide by more than 10 million square feet to help save $15 billion over the next few years, according to a company official who declined to be identified. Pandit has already slashed Citigroup’s dividend and sold units to free up capital. He said in November that he would cut 52,000 jobs, about 15 percent of the firm’s headcount as of Sept. 30.
“Senior executives in our corporate headquarters are moving from two floors to smaller, simpler offices on a single floor,” the company’s statement said. “Based on estimates made when the project was initiated, we expect to generate savings in the next few years well in excess of the project costs.”
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph — they’re downsizing office space to save money. Might there be a more propitious time to take on such an endeavor? Probably, but who cares? They’re consolidating. I mean, where do we draw the line here? Am I supposed to leap to high dudgeon if it’s discovered that Citi is using two-ply toilet paper instead of tree bark? Seriously though, AIG isn’t going to be the only firm paying bonuses and Citi isn’t going to be the only firm that takes on renovations. Let’s take a deep breath here and put things in perspective.