The Most Dangerous Man in America: Jamie Dimon

By Simon Johnson

There are two kinds of bankers to fear.  The first is incompetent and runs a big bank.  This includes such people as Chuck Prince (formerly of Citigroup) and Ken Lewis (Bank of America).  These people run their banks onto the rocks – and end up costing the taxpayer a great deal of money.  But, on the other hand, you can see them coming and, if we ever get the politics of bank regulation straightened out again, work hard to contain the problems they present.

The second type of banker is much more dangerous.  This person understands how to control risk within a massive organization, manage political relationships across the political spectrum, and generate the right kind of public relations.  When all is said and done, this banker runs a big bank and – here’s the danger – makes it even bigger.

Jamie Dimon is by far the most dangerous American banker of this or any other recent generation.

Not only did Mr. Dimon keep JP Morgan Chase from taking on as much risk its competitors, he also navigated through the shoals of 2008-09 with acuity, ending up with the ultimate accolade of “savvy businessman” from the president himself.  His letter to shareholders, which appeared this week, is a tour de force – if Machiavelli were a banker alive today, he could not have done better.   (You can access the full letter through the link at the end of the fourth paragraph in this WSJ blog post; for another assessment, see Zach Carter’s piece.)

Dimon fully understands – although he can’t concede in public – the private advantages (i.e., to him and his colleagues) of a big bank getting bigger.  Being too big to fail – and having cheaper access to funding as a result – may seem unfair, unreasonable, and dangerous to you and me.  But to Jamie Dimon, it’s a business model – and he is only doing his job, which is to make money for his shareholders (and for himself and his colleagues).

Dimon represents the heavy political firepower and intellectual heft of the banking system.  He runs some of the most effective – and tough – lobbyists on Capitol Hill.  He has the very best relationships with Treasury and the White House.  And he is determined to scale up.

The only problem he faces is that there is no case at all for banking of the size and form he proposes.  Consider the logic he presents on p.36 of his letter. 

He starts with a reasonable point: Large global nonfinancial companies are an integral and sensible part of the American economic landscape.   But then he adds three more steps:

  1. Big companies need big banks, operating across borders, with large balance sheets and the ability to execute a wide variety of transactions.  This is simply not true – if we are discussing banking at the current and future proposed scale of JP Morgan Chase.  We go through this in detail in 13 Bankers – in fact, refuting this point in detail, with all the evidence on the table, was a major motivation for writing the book.  There is simply no evidence – and I mean absolutely none – that society gains from banks having a balance sheet larger than $100 billion.  (JP Morgan Chase is roughly a $2 trillion bank, on its way to $3 trillion.)
  2. The US banking system is not particularly concentrated relative to other OECD countries.  This is true – although the degree of concentration in the US has increased dramatically over the past 15 years (again, details in 13 Bankers) and in key products, such as credit cards and mortgages, it is now high.  But in any case, the comparison with other countries doesn’t help Mr. Dimon at all – because most other countries are struggling with the consequences of banks that became too large relative to their economies (e.g., in Europe; see Ireland as just one illustrative example).
  3.  Canada did fine during 2008-09 despite having a relatively concentrated financial system.  Mr. Dimon would obviously like to move in the Canadian direction – and top people in the White House are also very much tempted.  This is frightening.  Not only does it represent a complete misunderstanding of the government guarantees behind banking in Canada (which we have clarified here recently), but this proposal – at its heart – would allow, in the US context, even more complete state capture than what we have observed under the stewardship of Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner.  Place this question in the context of American history (as we do in Chapter 1 of 13 Bankers): If the US had just five banks left standing, would their political power and ideological sway be greater or less than it is today?

For a long time, our leading bankers hid behind their lobbyists and political friends.  It is most encouraging to see Mr. Dimon come out from behind those layers of protection, to engage in the intellectual fray.

It is entirely appropriate – and most welcome – to see him make the strongest case possible for keeping banks at their current size and, in fact, for making them bigger.  We should encourage such engagement in public discourse, but we should also examine carefully the substance of his arguments.

As we point out in the Washington Post Outlook section this week, Theodore Roosevelt carefully weighed the views of J.P. Morgan and other leading financiers in the early twentieth century – when they pushed back against his attempts to rein in their massive railroad and industrial trusts.  Roosevelt was not at that time against big business per se, but he insisted that big was not necessarily beautiful and that we also need to weigh the negative social impact of monopoly power in all its economic and political forms.

If we don’t find our way to a modern version of Teddy Roosevelt, Jamie Dimon – and his successors – will lead us into great harm.  It’s true that, after another crash or in the midst of a Second Great Depression, we can reasonably hope to find another Roosevelt – FDR – approach.  But why should we wait when such a disaster is completely preventable?

70 responses to “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Jamie Dimon

  1. But to Jamie Dimon, it’s a business model – and he is only doing his job, which is to make money for his shareholders (and for himself and his colleagues).

    I am really getting sick of this toxic meme, that corporate criminals are “just doing their jobs”.

    (Maybe Simon means “that’s what Dimon thinks”, but we shouldn’t entertain it even on that level. Who bothers to say, just as a matter of course, “the child molester truly thinks he’s right”?)

    Morally, it’s despicable to even entertain the notion, even if it actually had become legally enshrined by a corrupt government.

    Morally, we disposed of it at Nuremburg. Or, all decent human beings did.

    And it’s not even legally true the way it’s always popularly represented.

    It’s both a myth and an obscenity, and should be driven with the scourge from all human discourse.

  2. Another candidate?

    Lord Mandelson attacks Barclays head

    Bob Diamond is head of Barclay’s investment bank
    Lord Mandelson has launched a personal attack on the president of Barclays, Bob Diamond, branding him the “unacceptable face” of banking.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8601512.stm

  3. Dimon is the exemplar ‘sin-of-omission-mind-numbing-corporate-speak’ type that is plaguing our country. He even threw his kids into the mix as he lectured us via bedtime stories, “Every five years or so junior there’s a financial crisis, you just have to get used to it.. Oh, and don’t forget to tell your classmates to remind their servants to save their lunch money.”

  4. I’ve been saying this for a while. While lLoyd doesn’t appear ro know when to shut up, “god’s work”, and can’t manage to keep his firm out of the headlines (big ego’s) , dimon goes to capital hill, doesn’t get questioned and has the ears of the president.

    I have always said it’s the evil you can’t see that is a danger. not the one you can see from a mile away.

    simon, we who visit your web site know you came out with your book. for months you have been pushing it on us day after day. At a certain point it gets annoying. I have been turned off for a while now, would have likely bought it, but not now.

    Let it also be said I give everyone your atlantic article as a primer to read on the financial crisis. and send out your material, (I’m a big fan), so push the book but do a bit less of it on your site.

  5. Simon, James,

    Now you need to confront the serious guys. We need to see your answer to Krugman’s column.

  6. I agree, however, as far as morality is concerned, the lessons of Nuremburg have been forgotten. Yoo and Bybee were only doing their jobs as well, and have escaped all criminal and civil penalties for providing legal cover for torture.

  7. I’ve read this note and now I admire Jamie Dimon. He sounds like a fantastic guy.

  8. I think Mike Konczal said 95% of what needed to be said.
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/04/thoughts_and_a_response_to_kru.html
    Krugman does himself no favors by taking a complex issue with many financial intricacies and saying there are only 2 camps on it. Let Krugman sit in his own juices on this one.

  9. I wonder if Mr. Dimon is looking for a rent-a-boy, I’d love to be man-slave!

  10. The 9:23 comment certainly isn’t from me :D
    Surely just another pro-Bush french-hater.

  11. “If the US had just five banks left standing, would their political power and ideological sway be greater or less than it is today?” This is the key question to keep asking. Every time people like Dimon and his colleagues push for this new “business model” of their’s we should pose the question and have them try to answer it. Any reasonable, well thinking person knows the answer to this.

  12. Well, if they’re just doing their jobs, that entails being criminals — rather like the Sopranoes. So I don’t see the contradiction here.

    Why don’t we turn the banks into regulated public utilities?

  13. I’m afraid that position is already filled. By the current resident of the White House.

  14. Mr. Dimon is the best, and unfortunately, only example of why big banks should be allowed to grow and run proprietary operations that are inherently at odds with shareholder and consumer interests. However, he’s only one man, and there’s absolutely no guaranty that his eventual successor will be able to do as good of a job. Certainly, his industry peers have already proven that they can’t be trusted with autonomy.

    I’m a big Dimon fan, which is why JPM is my largest position, but it would be a mistake to not reform the financial system because of one man.

  15. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the modern day Teddy Roosevelt turned out to be a Republican?

  16. I haven’t heard Krugman say a single insightful thing during the entire crisis. I really don’t know why he’s held in such high regard. Moreover, not only is he technically off-base, but he completely lacks objectivity in that much of his writing is all about pushing his personal agenda to move Leftist “social justice” forward. It’s hard to imagine how someone with all of his education can emerge with the opinions he has. Did he sleep through all of his classes?

  17. Simon Johnson writes, “There is simply no evidence – and I mean absolutely none – that society gains from banks having a balance sheet larger than $100 billion.” –Would somebody kindly clue Mr. Johnson into the fact that capitalism as a system is a class society, not any sort of socialist collective? It is therefore not only irrelevant that “society gains” nothing from Too Big Too Fail; the point is that the big capitalists gain from oligopolistic bigness and public subsidy.

    That is how class society works, Mr. Johnson; and why your superior academic argumentation never wins the day. The “disaster” that you want to “prevent” is already here. It is the capitalist system, which brings war, unemployment, economic crisis, environmental devastation, pan-corruption, politically lobotomized consumers, and more.

  18. J. Blackwell

    I agree with some of Simon’s points in this post but I don’t see how he can chide Dimon for navigating the storm. Getting banks to take on less risk than their competitors is something we are trying to achieve correct?

  19. Dimon is not Brad Pitt but as bankers go he is a movie star in terms of attractiveness, style and public speaking ability. More Harrison Ford than George Clooney but you just tend to like the guy on screen and probably in person too. Having just enough everyman, but one with style, to hit the perfect note. I am certain this plays not only on TV but in all his business relations.

    He can play the public the media and politicians like a fiddle. While media people are always obsequious to powerful CEO’s it seems to me in the few venues I have seen him there is an extra level of fawning. If not quite Tiger Beat level, not far away.

    There was a rumor floated last fall he was going to be the next Treasury Secretary. Why he would take the job escapes me but that the White House would want him there is easy enough to believe. Geithner is someone nobody likes after all. I don’t doubt the rumor started in the White House as a little trial baloon, by somebody. The thing is Dimon is too strong on the Q Score. While the political sphere has ceded power to the financial sphere in ways game theory says should never happen I am sure on some level some appreciate you don’t want to help give a superstar a top billing. I doubt Damon would take it but who knows.

  20. “and he is only doing his job, which is to make money for his shareholders (and for himself and his colleagues)”

    “Not only did Mr. Dimon keep JP Morgan Chase from taking on as much risk its competitors”

    Simon, you have to stop making these types of apologist statements on behalf of these guys. re: the first statement; Dimon is not just “doing his job”. he is willfully and knowingly exploiting the global middle classes by using the advantages of the current situation. if i was Jamie Dimon, with all his knowledge and superior skills, i would bring one more ingredient to the equation, a conscience. a moral fiber he clearly lacks. don’t forget, a CEO and a large banking institution like JPM can still make a LOT of money yet not exploit the people.

    as for the second statement above, just look at JPM’s derivative book please; the largest in the industry.

  21. Many Canadians do their banking through the Credit Union system, not through the big banks. There are also international banks operating here, like HSBC. It ain’t as concentrated as the corporate press likes to think.

    Anyway, the US has 10 times the Canadian population, so extending the Canadian system would result in 50 big US banks, a dozen or two foreign banks, and thousands of credit unions.

    There are other things that are not as reported in the corporate press. Canadian Banks received billions in cash during the crisis, but in round-about ways (CMHC) that do not show up as a direct bail-out. This has resulted in our own home-made housing bubble. Hopefully Canada will get lucky and avoid a US style housing crash.

  22. “Every five years or so junior there’s a financial crisis”

    thats another meme you need to expound upon Simon. in other words, every 5 yrs or so expect to be raped and pillaged by the big banks. its just the natural course of things…BS (and that does not mean Baseline Scenario)

  23. well if he pays as well as Blankfein; on average $750,000 per employee.

  24. you forgot the P

  25. Isn’t the answer to Krugman’s column that the two approaches he describes are not mutually exclusive. It seems to me that an enhanced regulatory architecture does not eliminate the need to break up financial behemoths such as JP Morgan Chase. In addition to illustrating the systemic risks posed by financial giants, the current crisis has also revealed their power to capture regulators and corrupt Congress. In the long run, there can’t be effective regulation as long as TBTF banks exist.

  26. Mr. Johnson wrote:

    “It is most encouraging to see Mr. Dimon come out from behind those layers of protection, to engage in the intellectual fray.”

    Jamie Dimon wrote:

    “You become predator and not prey”

    Dimon said, alluding to how JPMorgan Chase took over the distressed Bear Stearns investment house and Washington Mutual Inc. – San Fransico Chronicle, 3-weeks ago.

  27. The Business Insider, Feb. 10, 2010:

    “It was only a few weeks ago that President Barack Obama was denouncing Wall Street “fat cats” for “obscene” bonuses.

    But now he says he is totally cool with the $17 million bonus awarded to JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon and the the $9 million awarded to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. He even went so far as to use the favorite cliche of bonus defenders, pointing out that some sports stars earn more thank bank executives… That is part of the free-market system.”

    http://tinyurl.com/ylzegfz

  28. Now we’re blaming the banks that didn’t fail? This is commie propaganda. It’s always interesting to see who the press covers. You haven’t seen one person on TV questioning the very mandate of the Fed, which wears so many hats it can’t do any job properly, yet is more secretive than the CIA and wants even more authority. But Jamie Dimon is now the bad guy for questioning the wisdom of people who have don’t have a single success on their resume. The right answer is for the government to do its job and quickly fail any bank that falls below the equity limits, no matter how big or how small.

  29. Crediting Jamie Dimon for his “acuity” is a bit bizarre……… did anyone ever really look into JP Morgan’s counterparty exposure to Bear Stearns before the bailout/sale? There is quite a bit of speculation that JP Morgan was heavily exposed to Bear Stearns, and that if Bear Stearns went down, it would have taken JP Morgan right along with it. So if he really thinks he’s such a great CEO, why doesn’t Jamie Dimon open up his books from the spring of 2008 and let everyone see exactly what JP Morgan’s exposures were at the time? And why did he require a $30 billion gift from the Fed in order to buy Bear Stearns?

  30. Commie propaganda? You are a douchebag……….. JP Morgan wouldn’t probably wouldn’t exist right now if the Fed didn’t bail-out Bear Stearns, to whom JP Morgan was vastly exposed. And isn’t Tristan a girl’s name?

  31. “…this banker runs a big bank and – here’s the danger – makes it even bigger.”

    J P Morgan became a bigger, more powerful bank, in part though its takeover of Bear Stearns. That takeover was facilitated by the Federal Reserve who took on tens of billions of dollars of the bank’s bad loans.

    Taking away the Fed’s authority to bail out big financial institutions will ratchet down the moral hazard . Banks will realize that the Fed no longer can secretly back them up if they get into trouble.

    Much of the too-big-to fail problem will go away. Banks will continue to have have the option of a congressional bailout, but that is a harder sell.

  32. Tristan Yates

    Name-calling? Thanks for confirming that I was right about this site and its agenda.

  33. :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

  34. “JPMorgan would be fine if we stopped talking about the damn nationalization of banks. We’ve got plenty of capital. To policymakers, I say where were they? … They approved all these banks. Now they’re beating up on everyone, saying look at all these mistakes, and we’re going to come and fix it.”

    Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamie_Dimon

    Rene Descartes wrote:

    “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.”

    (1596 – 1650)

  35. Mr Johnson – a basic question.

    If the Central Bank is providing money in the form of 0 interest “loans” that are then used to purchase Gov’t Bonds paying interest, and if the large banks pay lobbyists to influence politicians to block reform, circumvent fraud charges, and and stymie public inquires – then is the CB the financier of the corruption of the Republic and Democracy?

  36. When I first ran across the name Chuck Prince I thought it was an ironic play on words. Never heard of the guy until eight months ago. We do have a — Prince Charles —- in the Canadian monarchist system. But our Prince Charles is for organic gardening.

    Canadian-style big banks would not work in the United States. One reason is we have something called — campaign reform. — It is against the law for “special interests” to contribute very large sums of money to a political party or politician.

  37. Well, I did say that all decent people remember it. I’d say that’s a core element of the definition of decency.

    Let’s also not forget the Japanese war crimes trials where waterboarding was explicitly called the capital crime of torture.

    Or where in the case of a general who nominally oversaw the POW camp system, who even the prosecution conceded had tried to alleviate conditions but simply found it impossible, they enshrined the concept that in a criminal war the commanders are by definition responsible for all crimes, and he was on that basis convicted and hanged.

    So even if something like Abu Ghraib really had been the work of “bad apples” (which we know it was not), according to America’s own enshrined war crimes jurisprudence that’s no defence for the leadership. (And of course we know that unlike in the case of that Japanese general, none of the “Americans” involved ever tried to stop anything. To this day they are all conspirators, starting at the top with Obama.)

  38. Yup. Public, and much smaller as units and in the aggregate.

    Like with every other problem, the only practical and moral solution is both obvious and simple.

    The moment anyone says, “it’s more complicated than that”, you know he’s about to defend some villainy.

  39. Bill Gilwood

    Businesses have a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profit by all legal means. It’s the government’s responsibility to confine this profit maximization within reasonable legal limits to protect the public (eg. pollution/safety/offshoring/financial fraud/predatory lending) and maintain moral standards (no child labor/slavery etc.).

  40. Robert Smith

    Maybe someone should tell Syracuse University to re-think their commencement speaker.

    http://insidesu.syr.edu/2010/03/25/jpmorgan-chase-ceo-jamie-dimon-to-deliver-2010-syracuse-university-commencement-address/

  41. I agree. I used to think that Krugman had a good mind, but, maybe he’s lost his edge. I have witnessed the same thing. He really has not said enough to become a part of the conversation. Being a Noble Prize winner is nice, but what has he done for us lately. Mostly just spoken in support of left wing policies without solid economic rationales.

  42. He is fantastic if you are in favor of rape. So, I guess you’re a violationist at heart. Jamies greed is so institutionalized that few realize that it is mostly rationalizations for it that he spouts.

  43. Easy to be a Dimon fan if you don’t care about what that corporate financial strategy does to the country and its citizenry. On a purely corporate basis he is to be highly admired. On a social basis, scorned. When was the last time any of these new tycoons spent money to help control AIDS (ala Gates), or contibuted to general American education, or did anything else to raise the level of general prosperity with their fellow citizens? Never. But, it is not his fault. Our government has created an economic regulatory environment in which Machiavelian figures can flourish. So, I don’t blame him for doing his job, but for us in creating the tools for his amoral behavior.

  44. Teddy was Republican. But certainly you knew that and maybe that’s why you made the remark.

  45. What are you suggesting. It’s a bit muddy.

  46. But Jamie’s job is exploitation. All CEO’s have this in their job description, which is why we have regulations. There is usually a fine line, but deregulation and other policies did not just blur that line, but completely erased it. If all enterprises were similarly unfettered, we would have already died from overexposure. As it is we are the host to parasites that gradually drain us of the will to unburden ourselves.

  47. And remember that Canadian lenders were not permitted to write outrageous subprime mortgages on people and had to ACTUALLY QUALIFY BORROWERS AS HAVING THE ABILITY TO REPAY.

  48. I often think of this and wonder how such an elegant scam can exist. I will answer for Simon. The answer is yes. Think more on that. We are actually paying the banks (bond interest) to borrow for nothing. When is this game coming to my home town? This is as purely emblematic of the problem as anything I can think of. Or did I miss something? Please tell me I’m wrong!!

  49. Well you know Syracuse University was founded by a Methodist Church over 100 years ago.

    You have Rod Blagojevich on NBC’s (the “peacock” network) “The Apprentice”. Not to mention a dozen or so slobbering philanderers I wouldn’t even want sitting on a toilet before me. And then we have Jamie Dimon giving lectures to graduates at Syracuse University.

    Then we all scratch our heads saying “Why don’t young people know what morals are nowadays??” Gee, I can’t figure it out, can you???

  50. http://www.kccllc.net/documents/0812229/0812229091214000000000008.pdf

    Read pages 443 onward to understand the type of banker Dimon is, Simon is spot on.

    starts off with …
    “JP Morgan takes the valuable assests of Washington Mutual and destroys the property rights of shareholders and contract rights of debt holders”

  51. “Not only did Mr. Dimon keep JP Morgan Chase from taking on as much risk its competitors, he also navigated through the shoals of 2008-09 with acuity”
    —————

    Meh. Where would JPM have ended up had Citigroup and Bank of America actually failed in the Spring of ’09, as would certainly have happened in the absence of government intervention?

    They’d be out of business today, along with all the other big banks, and we’d be in Great Depression II.

    Don’t ascribe their success today to Dimon’s business savvy, ascribe it to the massive government safety net underneath him and his peers.

  52. I would not worry Kevin: next up we will get from
    this dude praise for Blythe Masters of JP Morgan…the
    most dangerous woman on Wall Street.

    Meanwhile, Tristan Yates, you would be well advised to take a read at this piece:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/new-york-fed-discloses-cdo-holdings-maiden-lane-portfolios

  53. RueTheDay wrote:

    “and we’d be in Great Depression II.”

    Presently more like Great Depression version 1.5., 14.9-million unemployed can’t be wrong. The operating system for Depression 2.0 is being written as we speak. Gamers will have to be patient till it’s released.

  54. How are we comparing a bank that weathered the storm to historical atrocities? There’s no greater American pasttime than to be a victim. This is a bank that has done a great job. Why not make the big banks utilities? Because in a consumer-driven economy, that means less credit. Now that is probably a good thing in the long run, and I’d be all for less credit to the consumer, and less consumption. Sadly, however, it’s quite often that those that decry their unfair lot in life and scream for entitlements are the very ones that want more credit, to buy things that they can’t afford. Remember that all of these loans that went or are going bad are bad because somebody somewhere isn’t paying their debt. If it’s a car, a home, etc., someone is not fulfilling their end of the contract. And these are the ones that do not get that you don’t get something for nothing. This is a good bank that’s been good to the country.

  55. every action has a reaction. For those decrying the big banks on this blog, I’d be all for going back to the gold standard and living without the fed, their balance sheet, and their interest rates. zero leverage of the banking system, and making them keep all of the loans. Fine by me. And FAR more sustainable. I, however, would also be able to live with the consequences of that. (Any reasonable adult looks at the consequences of desires.) I would be fine with less credit, with living collectively within our means, and shifting society away from massive overconsumption. This would in the short run bring higher unemployment and a deeper recession but would be the right thing for our children and society in the long run. That’s a mature, adult answer. Whining about banks, and then at the same time pushing the banks for more loans and cramdowns is the intellectual equivalent of a baby crying for what they want. We’ve got to make a decision and live with it.

  56. Obama had nothing to do with AbuGraib, why is he a conspirator ?

  57. Cool stuff, thanks rob. It resonates with some of my own observations.

    “Crisis by Design is a feature-length documentary that investigates and reveals the root causes of the worldwide economic crash, past, present and where it’s headed. An exposé on who’s “pulling the strings,” and “where the bodies are buried,” it explores the gaps between the statements of public figures and their true motives. ”

    http://www.crisisbydesign.com

  58. I’m sorry, but what did Ken Lewis do to earn inclusion among the “incompetent?”

  59. AJ wrote:

    “I’m sorry, but what did Ken Lewis do to earn inclusion among the “incompetent?”

    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

    Michael Lewis – excerpt

    “Steve Eisman, the head of FrontPoint Capital, is the first of Lewis’s characters to realize the subprime mortgage industry is nothing but a giant Ponzi scheme. His insights throughout are biting. Some of the book’s best bits are scenes where Eisman attends some conference or meeting only to heckle the presenting financier with persistent questions about their balance sheet, slowly teasing out the sense that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Perhaps the best of them, at least the most enlightening, is a meeting Eisman invites himself to with Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis.

    “I was sitting there listening to him. I had an epiphany. I said to myself, ‘Oh my God, he’s dumb!’

    A light bulb went off. The guy running one of the biggest banks in the world is dumb” (page 174). Given Ken Lewis’s subprime buying spree in 2007 and ’08 and his disastrous decision to buy Merrill Lynch in 2009, Eisman was on to something.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/235477

  60. He’s violating American and international law in refusing to prosecute war criminals and obstructing justice in resisting any independent demands for information. That’s enough for me to say that even legalistically he’s abetting after the fact.

    (Needless to say, he’s directly guily of every war crime committed since he became president, like these:

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/wikileaks-releases-video-depicting-us-military-slaying-dozen-iraqis-including-two-reuters-em )

    And more importantly, just as with financial crimes against humanity he retroactively validated and took personal ownership, adopted, every single action, every single crime going all the way back the moment he appointed Summers and Geithner (let alone when he continued with the Bailout), so where it comes to war crimes he retroactively took full personal, full moral responsibility the moment he escalated in Afghanistan while refusing to prosecute or even release torture photographs.

    If there were ever to be another Nuremburg, nothing could save him.

  61. Dimmon is neither smarter nor dumber than any of the other banking CEOs drawn from the same inbred gene pool. He is, so far at any rate, just more fortunate. The prospect that he might be rotated through Treasury is truly frightening to me as I enjoy the principal effect of the ‘trickle down’–18 months of unemployment.

  62. Concerned mother

    My son attends Syracuse University where Mr. Dimon is speaking at commencement. My son told me that more than half of the graduating student body is protesting his coming since he said it was a political move by the University and the students did not elect him.

  63. Dimon can’t responsibly do otherwise in a capitalist, shareholder oriented system–his obligation is to his shareholders, not to us, as Bill stated so well. Now, what are WE going to do about changing that?

  64. Businesses have a legal obligation to their shareholders to maximize profit by all legal means.
    *******************************
    I have seen this until I am sick of it. Produce some across-the-board statutory proof. You cannot. In the first place, there are such entities as non-profits. As far as for-profit corporations, what they produce or not produce is reflected by the information that is contained in their charter or in a (required) prospectus that must be made available to anyone who is thinking about investing some money in the enterprise. Much more could be said about your statement, but I have wasted enough time.

  65. Valerie Gagnon

    I don’t believe for one minute that businesses have a “legal” obligation to maximize profit for their investors.

  66. Valerie Gagnon

    Yap, classic narrow and narcissic vision of someone who cannot understand that’s what is at stake is the economic health of a nation and the world.
    When you throw yourself out the window, Pat cause you’ve lost everything in the market, do think once last time about how much you love your Demon, it will help cushion the fall. ;-)

  67. Valerie Gagnon

    There is no evidence that capitalism is a class society and not a socialist collective ;-)

    By the way this sentence means absolutely NOTHING!!

  68. One reason – correct me if I’m wrong on this as I’m not a US citizen – if you go straight from private to public sector in the US at the level of Treasury Secretary, you don’t have to pay tax on your payout – a la Paulson.