By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 4, 2023 ~
Jamie Dimon is the Chairman and CEO of the serially-charged criminal trading operations of JPMorgan Chase, which thanks to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, is also allowed to own the largest federally-insured bank in the United States and use its trillions of dollars in mom and pop deposits to gamble in derivatives.
Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley; served in the administrations of Presidents Ford and Carter and as Labor Secretary under Clinton; is the author of 18 books, including bestsellers The Work of Nations, Saving Capitalism, and Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. Reich received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.
Jamie Dimon made the mistake of coming into the radar of Reich in 2018. According to Reich, Dimon phoned him in 2018 at his office at UC Berkeley and launched into a “diatribe” because Reich had criticized JPMorgan Chase publicly on the topic of “the degree of concentration of big Wall Street banks….”
Reich, apparently, saw Dimon’s attempt to bully him into silence as emblematic of how the oligarchs are taking over the United States. So Reich wrote a book, which was released two years later, in which Dimon is heavily featured — and not in a good way. The book is The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.
Reich analyzes Dimon as follows in The System:
“Dimon doesn’t see how he has contributed to the mess we’re in. He doesn’t acknowledge the inconsistencies between his preferred self-image as ‘patriot first’ and his roles as CEO of America’s largest bank and chairman of the Business Roundtable [a corporate lobby group that has spent over $100 million lobbying members of Congress in the past five years]. He doesn’t understand how he has hijacked the system.”
Indeed, in 2019, Dimon appeared on the CBS news program, 60 Minutes, and pounded the table that candidates running for President, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, should stop vilifying him and accept his point of view that he’s a “patriot.”
In 2019, the bank had already racked up three criminal felony charges, to which it admitted and got settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice. The very next year, it admitted to two more. See: JPMorgan’s Board Made Jamie Dimon a Billionaire as the Bank Rigged Markets, Laundered Money, and Admitted to Five Felony Counts.
So far this year, Dimon and JPMorgan Chase have been at the center of the scandal of the century over separate charges brought by victims and the Attorney General of the U.S. Virgin Islands that the bank aided and abetted more than a decade of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of children so that he and his ultra wealthy pals could sexually assault them. Showing just how much control the oligarchy has in the U.S. today, only civil lawsuits have thus far been brought against JPMorgan Chase. Only deafening silence has come from the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice where JPMorgan Chase’s role with Jeffrey Epstein is concerned.
Reich, in his book, also singles out Dimon for being one of those who have “justified their wealth and power as being in the interest of the public, but the public has been shafted.” Reich goes on to provide numerous examples of how the public has been shafted, writing:
“The increasing concentration of wealth and power at the top has created an education system in which the super-rich can buy admission to college for their children, a political system in which they can buy Congress and the presidency, an information ecosystem in which they can buy public opinion, a health-care system in which they can buy care others can’t, and a justice system in which they can buy their way out of jail.”
Let’s pause here for a moment on Reich’s point of buying public opinion. Dimon is the only Wall Street mega bank CEO to have remained in that post since the financial crisis of 2008 – notwithstanding his bank losing $6.2 billion gambling with depositors’ money in derivatives in London; despite five felony counts to which it admitted; despite over $30 billion in fines and restitution for looting the public and rigging trading; despite years of providing banking services to two of the most notorious criminals of this century – Bernie Madoff and Jeffrey Epstein – and despite endless bailouts from the Federal Reserve to prop up this Frankenbank.
One of the media outlets that has functioned for years as a p.r. outlet to prop up Dimon’s image as a statesman on Wall Street is Bloomberg News, owned by fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York City. In 2016, Michael Bloomberg even co-authored an opinion piece with Dimon. The same year, the New York Post reported that JPMorgan Chase was the second largest customer of Bloomberg’s data terminal business with 10,000 leases of Bloomberg’s terminals. At the time, the terminals cost around $21,000 each per year or approximately $210 million being forked over by JPMorgan Chase to Michael Bloomberg’s company. Bloomberg’s data terminals are the cash cow of the company.
Reich sums up his analysis of Dimon in the new “System” in America like this:
“Jamie Dimon comes as close as anyone to embodying the American system as it functions today. He’s a member in good standing of the American oligarchy. If you want to understand that oligarchy, you need to understand Dimon.”
We would like to offer that what Americans really need to understand is how the oligarchy protects men like Jamie Dimon.
After laying all of that out in crisp prose in his book in 2020, Reich found an urgent new reason to call out Dimon again last week in his Substack column. Following the second, third and fourth largest banking failures in U.S. history this past spring, federal banking regulators have released new proposals for requiring banks with $150 billion or more in assets to reach higher capital levels to help protect American taxpayers from the kind of bank bailouts that occurred in 2008.
Dimon has led the charge against the higher capital levels and sits as Chair of the Bank Policy Institute, another big bank group that spends heavily on lobbying. See our report: Meet the Banking Cartel that Is Planting the Seeds for the Next Banking Panic and Bailout.
Because Wall Street is a big source of campaign money for Democrats, Reich correctly fears that Democrats might cave on demands for higher capital levels under continued pressure from Dimon. Reich sums up his latest column with this:
“Democrats must stop listening to Jamie Dimon, Bob Rubin, and other denizens of the Street. Instead, they must stand up to Wall Street and the rest of the American oligarchy.”
For a quick historical lesson on how we ended up with these Wall Street oligarchs and their Frankenbanks, watch Reich explain in the video below the road to the repeal of Glass-Steagall and its aftermath.