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Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Bailed-Out Banker Lectures about Fairness

JPMorgan honcho Jamie Dimon should count his millions and be grateful he's not in jail.
Jamie Dimon is annoyed. He’s fed up with the populist attitude that’s sweeping the country. He’s not going to take it anymore.

That’s why he recently bleated to reporters that “banks are under assault.”

Well, not every bank. He was talking about JPMorgan Chase — America’s largest Wall Street empire, which Dimon heads.

Government regulators, he snarls, are pandering to grassroots anger at Wall Street excesses by squeezing the life out of the JPMorgan casino.

But wait — didn’t JPMorgan score a record $22-billion profit last year?

And didn’t those Big Bad Government Regulators provide a $25-billion taxpayer bailout in 2008 to save Dimon’s conglomerate from its own recklessness?

And isn’t this Wall Street popinjay raking in over $20 million in personal pay to suffer the indignity of this so-called “assault” on his bank?

Yes, yes, and yes. Still, Dimon says regulators are piling on JPMorgan.

“In the old days,” he whined, “you dealt with one regulator when you had an issue. Now it’s five or six. You should all ask the question about how American that is,” he lectured reporters, and “how fair that is.”

Golly. One reason JPMorgan has half-a-dozen regulators on its case is because it doesn’t have just “one issue” with regulators.

It has beaucoup issues — including deceiving its own investors, cheating more than 2 million of its credit card customers, gaming the rules to overcharge electricity users in California and the Midwest, overcharging active-duty military families on their mortgages, illegally foreclosing on troubled homeowners, and…well, so much more.

Dimon should ask himself “how fair” all that is. Then he should shut up, count his millions, and be grateful he’s not in jail.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower