Well JPMorgan Chase under fire tonight for standing by its $138 million plan to buy two new Gulfstream jets and a planned major renovation at its West Chester (ph), New York airport hanger. Chase -- JPMorgan Chase spokesman tells CNN the company has not yet spent a dime for the planes or the hangar and will not do so until its 25 billion in TARP funding is repaid.That kinds of goes with something I've been thinking as I hear complaints about items included in the stimulus package. There's a fine line between pork and stimulus, if there's any line at all.
Now JPMorgan plans to purchase two new Gulfstream 650 jets. They'll will be paying about $120 million for the two aircraft. The hangar work doesn't start until 2010. Now, here's the thing and I want to be really clear about where I stand. I wasn't so thrilled about a Citigroup deal because they were bailed out with taxpayer money and those folks were wanting to buy a Falcon jet made in France.
Now, we're talking about an American company and American jobs when you're talking about Gulfstream -- Gulfstream employees 9,000 American workers in this country. It's entire worldwide workforce, some 10,000 people, all of Gulfstream's large cabin aircraft are made in American facilities. There are 11 U.S. service centers for the maintenance of those aircraft.
The economy, the bad press surrounding the business aircraft industry is taking its toll. So far this year, Gulfstream has announced it will lay off 800 of its part-time workers, 1,500 employees to be furloughed for a five-week period this summer. The industry as a whole has announced 10,000 layoffs so far this year.
So if you hear someone reflexably call themselves a populist and say you know we can't have these companies flying private aircraft, remind them, there are a few things to consider. Like economics, the well being of the nation and the fact that despite everything that's being attempted in Washington, D.C., it's still a free enterprise democracy. Well, Democratic Republic, at least a good part of our country is still a Democratic Republic, so I fully support JPMorgan Chase.
I'm pretty sure you could go to downtown Atlanta and throw cash in the air, and that'd be stimulus. It would probably cause a riot, but hot dog purchases at the Varsity would probably increase, too.