Jamie Dimon says “the American dream is fraying”

Exclusive: Jamie Dimon speaks out on voting rights even as many CEOs remain silent

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“The American dream is unraveling and income inequality is like the dividing line,” said Dimon in an interview with David Axelrod, founder and director of the University of Chicago Institute of Policy and senior political commentator from CNN, for The Ax Files podcast earlier. this week.

Dimon’s interview took place before JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced its first quarter results on Wednesday. JPMorgan chief Chase told Axelrod that the good news for many Americans is that the economy is improving – in part thanks to the federal government stimulus.

“The consumer has a huge amount of money today, mainly because of stimulus and unemployment, et cetera. Their balance sheets are in very good condition. Their confidence level increases, ”Dimon said, adding that owners and people with equity portfolios are benefiting the most.

“There will be a bit of euphoria coming out of the pandemic,” he said. “It will certainly fuel a very strong economy in my opinion for years to come. “

Dimon said he was optimistic that the United States could find itself in a “Goldilocks scenario” for several years, in which inflation and long-term bond yields rise but “in a measured way”. He is therefore not worried that the Federal Reserve will have to slow down the economy and raise short-term rates.

But Dimon didn’t mince his words when discussing the many challenges facing the country’s poor – as well as the lingering injustices black Americans suffer.

George Floyd’s death in May 2020 after former police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck “highlighted the racial inequality that has existed for hundreds of years,” Dimon said, calling the murder of “murder” several times during the interview. Chauvin is currently on trial.

Dimon also addressed many of these societal and racial concerns in his annual letter to shareholders earlier this month.

He said in the Axelrod interview that the bank is committed to spending more to help black people find jobs and finance affordable housing loans. He added that JPMorgan Chase is also lending more to small black-owned businesses and is looking to hire and train more minority-owned wealth managers.

Dimon also told Axelrod that there were “serious problems” in the United States, including infrastructure, education and health care.

“America is exceptional. America has an amazing hand. But we have to do something to solve these problems, ”he said.

“The only way to solve this problem is to tackle it at a very detailed level. Businesses can do their part. Government is obviously essential to do this properly, because companies cannot do it on their own, ”Dimon added. “But I think it’s time to attack him. “

He also supports raising the minimum wage to “a much higher number” and endorsed the idea that the wealthiest individuals in the country should pay more taxes to help fund these programs. This is something mega-billionaire Warren Buffett has been talking about for years.

But Dimon said he was against big tax hikes on many companies.

“If you have to raise taxes, do it on the income of the rich, like a Buffett-type tax. It will be much more effective in growing the economy than taxing primary capital formation, ”he said.

Speaking of Buffett, JPMorgan Chase had hoped to tackle the healthcare issue more directly through a partnership with Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) and Amazone (AMZN). But the joint venture, dubbed Haven, closed in February after only three years of existence.

“We didn’t really need the three of us to do it,” Dimon admitted to Axelrod, adding that legal restrictions on banks sometimes made it more difficult.

But Dimon is not giving up on finding a solution to make health care more affordable for Americans.

“We haven’t given up on this one. We will try another attempt, ”he said. “I learned more about healthcare than I ever wanted to. ”

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