Bernie Sanders has hit back against Jamie Dimon's comments about socialism, but they're both missing the point on Wall Street greed.
What is the saying about people in glass houses? Jamie Dimon has been getting a lot of press for his comments on several economic topics at the billionaire ski-meet, otherwise known as the World Economic Forum in Davos. Of particular interest were his comments regarding socialism, of which the JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman were very critical. The United States’ most famous socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders, is not having it, and reminded Dimon of a very inconvenient truth.
While the above tweet will no doubt get Bernie Bros feeling the Bern and pumping their fists, a note of caution. JPMorgan Chase did pay back their bailout money, and Bernie Sanders must be referring to Wall Street as a whole, not specifically Jamie Dimon’s bank, which only received $25 billion.
Dimon can state that his bank was a profitable investment, as President Obama’s decision to trust the bank’s ability getting back on its feet resulted in a profit for the government.
So Sanders is not telling it precisely as it is here. The point he is really making paraphrases as “don’t insult the concept of receiving aid from the government when your corporation went broke and used Wall Street food stamps.” The senator has a point.
What truly irks the everyday American is not that some people rise to the top of the corporate ladder on Wall Street and earn billions. What annoys them is when those CEO’s mess up, get everything wrong, screw over the working man and crash the housing market, and still walk away with their vast compensation packages.
Yes, the taxpayer technically got most of it back, but a large contingent of those people didn’t get the jobs or houses back that they lost in the recession.
The same economic mistakes that required the Federal Reserve to put the U.S. economy on life support have, in turn, stagnated wage growth and disproportionately benefited the financial class that got so greedy in the first place.
Now that Jamie Dimon has shown that JPMorgan paid back their bailout money, what’s to stop them from taking excessive risks and blowing everything up again? Rinse and repeat, as Wall Street relies on government handouts to catch it when it falls.
Long considered somewhat of a conspiracy theory, more and more market voices are speaking up against the Fed’s interventions in financial markets. Scott Minerd, the CIO of Guggenheim Partners, is about as mainstream a figure as you can get in the hedge fund world, and he called the stock market a “Ponzi scheme” in Davos.
So Bernie Sanders is absolutely right. Taxpayer funds were used to make the rich richer but looks to be wrong that these were not a good investment from perspective of taxpayer funds.
Jamie Dimon is wrong because he doesn’t understand that he is himself, a billionaire product of corporate socialism. CEOs love to talk about how corporations should legally be treated as individuals, so we can probably just call it socialism.
A person who is down and out in society is no different from a bankrupt Wall Street firm when it comes to needing a handout. Whatever the result, or the amount in question, they are all part of the same system.
Bernie Sanders is right to tell you not to listen to people like Jamie Dimon, who criticize socialism when they don’t need it, yet are first in line and full of excuses when they do. Secondly, please don’t believe word for word everything Bernie Sanders says about Wall Street, because he is often exaggerating to make his point.
Finally, it’s impossible to have an article about socialism and not give former U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the last word.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: January 23, 2020 9:29 AM UTC