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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wall Street is a beast.

And proud of it! In fact, a pair of animals are the stock market’s longtime symbols: One is a snorting bull, representing surging stock prices; the other is a bear, representing a down market devouring stock value.

But I recently received a letter from a creative fellow named Charles saying that we need a third animal to depict the true nature of the Wall Street beast: a hog.

Yes! And we could name it “Jamie.” Jamie Dimon — I mean the multimillionaire, silver-haired, golden-tongued CEO of JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank.

For years, Dimon has wallowed in the warm glow of America’s financial, political and media limelight, hailed as a paragon of sound management and banker ethics. He’s been publicly lauded by President Obama, celebrated by The New York Times and courted by leaders of both parties.

But, suddenly last summer, a big “oink” erupted from Chase, and Jamie’s inner hoggishness was revealed. It started when one of Chase’s investment arms went awry and lost $2 billion. At first, Dimon haughtily dismissed this as “a tempest in a teapot.” But the loss of investors’ money soon grew to a staggering $6 billion. Criminal probes began, investors squirmed, media coverage grew testy, and then came the revelation that took all the glitter off of Dimon.

On March 14, a U.S. Senate committee issued a scathing 300-page report documenting that the loss was not a mere “trade blunder” by Chase underlings, but the product of a systemic corporate culture of recklessness, greed and deception. An internal email from Jamie himself, with the words “I approve,” traced the stench all the way to the top. Not only did Dimon know what was going on, he enabled it.

JPMorgan’s mess stems from the same dangerous combo that rocked America’s financial system in 2007 and crashed our economy: ethical rot in executive suites, sycophantic politicians and reporters and willfully blind regulators. Meanwhile, Jamie is still Boss Hog at the giant bank and still drawing millions of dollars in annual pay and perks. Also, only one week after the Senate report came out, he was even given a media award for best 2012 performance by a CEO facing a corporate crisis. E-I-E-I-O!

For a better performance on containing banker narcissism, our lawmakers might look to Europe. I know that it’s considered un-American to like anything those “namby-pamby” European nations do, but still: Let’s hear it for the Swiss!

  • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

    Or you could name it “Obama”.

    • Sand_Cat

      Not my favorite guy, but certainly no worse than the realistic alternatives, and far better than most. The Dems do suck, and have for quite awhile, but still not quite so much as the Republicans. They seem just a bit less enthusiastic for some of the really bad stuff. Maybe it’s only that they can’t keep up with the opposition, but they are currently trailing slightly in the bad policy dishonesty sweepstakes, something we need to encourage. Declaring them just as bad despite some real differences is likely to be self-fulfilling: if voters won’t bother to choose, why shouldn’t they get in on all the goodies without restraint, too?

      • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

        this is just “good cop, bad cop” with the same motive. Grab as much as possible before you leave office. Kiss as much ass as possible so you will wind up with a board of directors job that pays 2 million per year so the corporation is able to blame unions for the lack of profit.

  • sigrid28

    Until we can rein in the greed of lawmakers by instituting term limits and overturning Citizens United, voters of both parties will have be content with elected officials playing the long game on bank oversight and gun control, ignoring the will of the people. They are the 2% who are insulated from the social upheaval that makes the rest of us vulnerable. We’ll just have to brace ourselves for future recessions and insufficient recoveries, for more Sandy Hook massacres and daily gunfights on the streets. How long will we tolerate a society rife with corruption on Wall Street and violence and injustice on Main Street?

  • charleo1

    A great, “Tip of the ice burg,” story in the Huff-Post today, on offshore tax
    havens. Some may be surprised to hear, it’s not looking like the single Mom
    raising two on tips, or a Wall-Mart salary, crashed the world financial markets
    after all. Then, why did the Jamie Dimonds of the world, and their T-Party allies
    blame her? And are working to make sure the real culprits never pay a dime?

    • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

      Obama has had 5 years and has done nothing. I voted for him twice. I hate to be lied to.

      Fuck the hope and change bullshit.

      We are stuck with a bush of a different color.

      • charleo1

        Know what I hate? Cynical ideologues. Who claim they hate being
        lied to. But, are willing to vote again for the guy who supposedly
        disappointed them so deeply the first time around. One, we must
        conclude, was preferable to you, than the other guy. Who actually
        did promise to continue many of the same policies of Bush. Or,
        I could say, wait until Obama lies the Country into an unnecessary,
        and immoral, four trillion dollar war. Then, get back to me. And, we’ll
        compare Presidents.