Sign Simon Johnson's Petition!

06.13.12

Jamie Dimon and the Sickness in Our Culture

Jamie Dimon comes down to Washington today to explain that it was all just a little trifling error, no one was hurt, an "isolated incident" resulting from the natural ways of doing the business of banking.

Video screenshot

Protesters interrupt Jamie Dimon's second day of testimony before Congress.

But if you watch, keep in mind the dates April 10 and April 13. I'll let Andrew Ross Sorkin explain (next four grafs--the indent tool is temperamental at best):

On an April 13 conference call with analysts, [Dimon] called the concerns about the group a “complete tempest in a teapot.”

But the reassurances came just days after the bank’s own alarms sounded. On April 10, the position suffered losses of about $300 million, according to a person briefed on the matter. That, in turn, set off an internal warning system for the bank’s risk managers, people briefed on the matter said.

Even so, the bank did not immediately change course. As losses slowed later in the week, employees in the chief investment office blamed the problem on a brief market aberration that stemmed from the media reports, one of the people said.

The warning bells raise questions about what Mr. Dimon knew at the time of the April 13 conference call — and whether the bank misinformed its regulators and investors.

In a rational world, Dimon would have been booted from JP Morgan weeks ago. No; not "been booted." He'd have left in shame. He'd have said: "I made a major f--- up here. I shouldn't be running a big bank anymore. I'm resigning, and I'm going off to reflect for a while, and I'm going to come back and do something to make up for this." That you're laughing at my suggestion does not show that I'm some dreamy-eyed idealist. I know that was never going to happen.

What it does show, rather, is how inured we've become to the people at the top of society getting away with anything and taking responsibility for nothing. And you conservatives expect poor people to take responsibility for their behavior? Why should they? All they see around them every day on the news is the example of rich people getting away with everything.

Sign the petition at change.org launched by the esteemed economist Simon Johnson and publicized by my friend Erica Payne and her Agenda Project to demand that Dimon pay at least some price--that he be forced to resign from the New York Fed board. Yes, the board that is charged with supervising the very bank he runs!

Johnson is not getting help, alas, from one important quarter. The head of the New York Fed board, Columbia U. President Lee Bollinger, says Dimon should stay on the board. Nice, Mr. President. These are the kinds of values you want to showcase to young people, at an Ivy League school no less? Appalling.