Not everyone is buying billionaire banker Jamie Dimon’s calls for the United States to use the coronavirus crisis as “a catalyst to rebuild an economy that creates and sustains opportunity for dramatically more people, especially those who have been left behind for too long.”
In a letter to shareholders published Tuesday, the 64-year-old executive, a lifelong banker who has an estimated personal net worth of $1.3 billion, suggested that “the last few months have laid bare the reality that, even before the pandemic hit, far too many people were living on the edge.”
“This crisis must serve as a wake-up call and a call to action for business and government to think, act and invest for the common good and confront the structural obstacles that have inhibited inclusive economic growth for years,” Dimon stressed.
The reason for Dimon’s appeal is not entirely clear. It is known that the JPMorgan Chase CEO’s name has been mentioned for the post of treasury secretary in presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, should Biden win the presidency.
Whatever the motivation, online, commentators didn’t buy Dimon’s sincerity, pointing to his less than stellar record as a banker, including nearly 50 alleged violations of banking and securities regulations attributed to his bank since 2010, as well as allegations of bribing Chinese officials by hiring their relatives, and taking advantage of a generous bailout of the US financial system in 2008. JPMorgan was also fined $13 billion for bad mortgages which helped cause the 2008 recession in the first place.
“Billionaire Jamie Dimon has: bribed officials, illegally foreclosed on servicemembers, engaged in mortgage fraud, refuses to pay his front line employees a living wage, and still got a $416 billion taxpayer bailout. Maybe instead of lecturing us, he should lead by example for once,” candidate for congress Qasim Rashid tweeted.
Billionaire Jamie Dimon has:— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) May 19, 2020
•illegally foreclosed on servicemembers
•engaged in mortgage fraud
•refuses to pay his front line employees a living wage
•And STILL got a $416B taxpayer bailout
Maybe instead of lecturing us, he should lead by example for once https://t.co/zSHmKWyQks
“I am heartened to see that, after a year of thinking about it, @jpmorgan CEO Jamie Dimon agrees that workers at his company shouldn’t go hungry while he makes $31 million a year,” Congresswoman Katie Porte, who famously grilled Dimon on the subject in 2019, noted.
I’ve pressed Mr. Dimon before on what he’s doing to make sure employees at his company can make ends meet. I’ll stay on this, because I know that workers are the backbone of our capitalist economy, which the coronavirus is attacking. https://t.co/ccwieDWAw2— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) May 19, 2020
“Thinking about Jamie Dimon reminds me that we need to break up the big banks,” anti-monopoly and anti-corruption activist Zephyr Teachout added.
Thinking about Jamie Dimon reminds me that we need to break up the big banks.— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) May 19, 2020
Others made similar comments, asking whether Dimon would be willing to give away his money “to make things more ‘inclusive’,” or suggesting the businessman had ulterior motives, including possible political ambitions.
is Jamie Dimon giving his money away to make things more 'inclusive'? https://t.co/4NXQwBVz1a— PixelNig (@PixelNig) May 19, 2020
Jamie Dimon is a POS, he just realizes the guillotines are cominghttps://t.co/vXdfRVS63T— Barack Obama is a Harvey Weinstein Democrat 🍽 (@FlyThaiMMA) May 19, 2020
We are all in this together, shoulder to shoulder, said the multi billionaire from his off shore sanctuary to his poorly paid minions at risk from Covid19.— Micheal OLainn (@micheal_olainn) May 19, 2020
A breath of fresh air for your Tuesday. Jamie Dimon would be a fine addition to Joe Biden's cabinet. This man is fighting for MORE than just the billionaires. He's fighting for the multimillionaires. The prison investors. The weapons lobbyists. We need more of this. #Resist 🌊 https://t.co/hJ6vvmCW0o— Tristan Panama #NeverTrump 🌊 (@TristanPanama) May 19, 2020
Defenders of Dimon, who were few and far between, suggested that his message, not the source, is what’s important.
Friedrich Engels, one of the founders of communism, came from a family who in todays terms will be reckoned as billionaires. Does this make his contributions invalid?— Wessel Badenhorst (@WesselBaden) May 19, 2020