JPMorgan Chase predicts economic boom and pats itself on the back over steps during pandemic
Jamie Dimon's yearly shareholder letter advised investors to act as "responsible community citizen[s]" and become "fully engaged" in solving the world's problems. The 66-page missive, published on Wednesday, singled out climate change, economic development, racial inequality, and poverty as issues that businesses should get busy solving – never mind how many of those businesses contributed to creating those same problems in the first place.
The CEO patted himself on the back extensively for his bank's good deeds during the pandemic, including providing housing loans and funding to other businesses, even arguing that "many companies, large and small, may not have survived had JPMorgan Chase not taken extraordinary efforts to help them."
Dimon also blamed government policy for limiting the country's ability to reach its "maximum potential output."Also on rt.com Oligarch bankers are using woke PR campaigns to whitewash the greatest wealth inequality and economic plunder in history
But things were looking up, Dimon insisted. Not only was the US in for a huge upsurge in prosperity, but the boom could last for years, thanks to "excess savings, new stimulus savings, huge deficit spending, more [quantitative easing]" and a "new infrastructure bill". Plus there’s the veritable deluge of Covid-19 vaccines riding on the wave of "a successful vaccine and euphoria" creating a "boom" economy that could run all the way through 2023, led by "consumers," Dimon added. The Federal Reserve echoed the private bank's predictions, suggesting US economic growth could rise as high as 6.5% this year – the fastest growth seen since 1984.
Far from being broken for good, as so much doomsaying around the 2020 election concurred, "Democracy" had some life in it yet, Dimon suggested. Surely the government and its private partners wouldn't leave the US forever in hock to fantastically wealthy corporations like asset manager BlackRock, which (valued at $8.67 trillion as of late January) holds a not-insignificant chunk of most major companies and sets policy for more. Instead, "compromise [with the world's largest investment fund] is a core principle of democracy." Given that BlackRock's embrace of its new 'civic duty' involves setting policy for itself, Dimon apparently sees no problem in following in its footsteps. "Businesses' extraordinary capabilities are even more powerful when put to use in collaboration with governments' capabilities," Dimon declared, arguing that this was because Washington couldn't get "big things" done – never mind that the banks tend to pick the candidates, implying the partisan "gridlock" he complained about was manufactured by design.
Dimon also glided over the billions in bailouts his company was lent to purchase failed bank Washington Mutual and defunct brokerage Bear Stearns bank in 2008, only to later insist, cash safely in hand, that his company hadn't needed the money. In November 2013, JPMorgan paid the largest-ever settlement in US history between a government and a corporation, forking over $13 billion related to sales of bad mortgage debt. And the executive neatly skirted any discussion of the windfall his company had received from the various Covid-19 stimulus packages.
He even cried a few crocodile tears for the Federal Reserve, lamenting that "monetary policy is so critical to our country that the Fed must necessarily subjugate and sacrifice regulatory policy to achieve its monetary policy goals," apparently wishing the Fed could throw all regulatory caution to the wind, bringing a lot more profit for the banks.
"Nothing like what happened to the banks during the Great Recession can happen again," he continued, glossing over the fact that the US debt is now larger than its entire economy, military spending is up to over $1 trillion a year, and the only reason this information isn't scrawled across the front pages of every newspaper in America is a gentlemen's agreement not to tell the passengers on the Titanic that their boat is sinking. The US' debt as of the end of 2020 was believed to be larger than its entire economy, not an enviable position to hold – especially as the economy continues to slide downhill at the hands of two successive administrations whose only commonality was their affection for ex-treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, despite the fact he was suspected of mortgage fraud.Also on rt.com Americans’ trust in mainstream media has never been lower – but journalists insist it’s the audience’s fault, not theirs
Corporate social responsibility has been a big issue of late, first with the Covid-19 pandemic and later when PR firm Edelman revealed corporations alone had managed to keep the populace – especially Americans – trusting them. Big Business' ability to maintain its comparatively high showing next to politicians and the media might seem baffling, given that both politicians and the media would collapse if not for corporate largesse, but Dimon knows better than to look a gift horse in the mouth.
The CEO gingerly added his support to the fact that income inequality is part of what is destroying the US, but spread the blame around as best he could, to "government, business and civic society." These entities should "work together with a common purpose" instead of competing to rip each other off at every possible opportunity. The country's problem, he decided, was its refusal to partake in even a moment of introspection – a rich conclusion from the head of one of America's largest banks. Dimon even called out the military for being a ravening sponge sucking up all resources not immediately spoken for and spoke up for a $15 minimum wage – a common refrain seemingly calculated to endear himself to the pitchfork-wielding masses, as he's said it before and done nothing to bring it about.
"Although the government does certain things well, no one believes that it does most things well or that it gives an honest accounting of what it does do," Dimon explained, in a rare moment of truth that said nothing about what his bank would do to change the country's problems. "We merely throw up our hands in frustration."
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