Jamie Dimon Goes Off

The J.P. Morgan CEO savages Washington’s anti-growth culture.

 
 

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Beverly Hills, CA, May 1.
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Beverly Hills, CA, May 1. PHOTO: MIKE BLAKE/REUTERS

Jamie Dimon sure knows how to liven up an earnings call. While reporting quarterly results on Friday, the J.P. Morgan Chase CEO let loose with a high-quality harangue against the political class and Washington gridlock that drives down economic growth and hurts the people at the bottom of the income ladder.

“Since the Great Recession, which is now eight years old, we’ve been growing at 1.5% to 2% in spite of stupidity and political gridlock,” said the dean of Wall Street CEOs, who was just warming up. “We are unable to build bridges, we’re unable to build airports, our inner city school kids are not graduating.”

“I was just in France, I was recently in Argentina, I was in Israel, I was in Ireland. We met with the prime minister of India and China. It’s amazing to me that every single one of those countries understands that practical policies to promote business and growth is good for the average citizens of those countries, for jobs and wages, and that somehow this great American free enterprise system, we no longer get it.” 

The banker who was once a target of Obama regulators must feel liberated because he even dared to defend tax cuts for business: “Corporate taxation is critical to that, by the way. We’ve been driving capital earnings overseas, which is why there’s $2 trillion overseas benefiting all these other countries and stuff like that. So if we don’t get our act together—we can still grow.”

Tell us how you really feel, Jamie: “I don’t buy the argument that we’re relegated to this forever. We’re not. If this administration can make breakthroughs in taxes and infrastructure, regulatory reform—we have become one of the most bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet.

“It’s almost an embarrassment being an American citizen traveling around the world and listening to the stupid s— we have to deal with in this country. And at one point we all have to get our act together or we won’t do what we’re supposed to [do] for the average Americans.

“And unfortunately people write about this saying like it’s for corporations. It’s not for corporations. Competitive taxes are important for business and business growth, which is important for jobs and wage growth. And honestly we should be ringing that alarm bell, every single one of you, every time you talk to a client.”

Mr. Dimon has said he’s a Democrat, and some of his friends say he might be looking to run for President. If Republicans can’t rally the nerve to pass their agenda, he might find a receptive constituency.

Appeared in the July 15, 2017, print edition.

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