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Dennis M. Kelleher Headshot

#AskJPM Blow Up Nothing to Laugh About

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Most have heard by now about JP Morgan Chase's laughable Twitter campaign blow up over the hashtag #AskJPM. Even JP Morgan Chase has tried to laugh it off with a spokesperson saying "#Badidea! Back to the drawing board!" While it's good to laugh and not take yourself or others too seriously, this is no laughing matter.

It is in fact more evidence that Wall Street and its executives are living in a bubble, blissfully ignorant of what is happening in the real world and what they have done to the real world, including inflicting massive economic damage while pocketing billions in bonuses. It is also more proof of Wall Street's executives believing their own PR and thinking they know it all, safely ensconced in their cocoons of sycophants, servants, er, fellow executives, and hired high priced guns, er, lobbyists, lawyers, PR spinners, and various other purchased mouthpieces and allies, political and otherwise. (Better Markets has detailed this mindset before here, here and here.)

This was also demonstrated by JP Morgan Chase recently in connection with the dangerous, unlawful and criminal "London Whale" trades. Even though it cost its investors about $40 billion, JP Morgan Chase's executive in charge of "investor relations" publicly accepted an award for the best spinning of this egregious episode. In accepting the award, she "quipped: 'Can I just say, 'Crisis? What Crisis?'" This cavalier indifference to egregious illegal conduct and its impact on real people, taxpayers and regulators, is grossly irresponsible and a disturbing window into the out-of-touch executive suites.

Regarding the #AskJPM blowup, one article began by asking the right question: "What were they thinking?" The answer is, they weren't thinking; they were all talking to themselves and like-minded executives. And, it never occurred to them that there might be some people (never mind lots of people) who don't share their view of themselves as brilliant, highly qualified, appropriately compensated financiers selflessly serving the needs of Americans and the economy. Or, dare we say, just "doing God's work" as Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein so memorably and cluelessly put it.

What this latest example shows again is that Wall Street and its executives have little understanding of or connection with the country or the economic wreckage they have inflicted. This disconnect with reality was also evidenced by the recent AIG GEO statements that people who criticized AIG bonuses were like those who lynched African Americans during the Jim Crow era. This ignorance and obliviousness is not limited to JP Morgan Chase or AIG or an isolated occurrence, as Better Markets has previously detailed.

This is no laughing matter -- and really bad for the country -- because Wall Street's too-big-to-fail banks still threaten the financial system, the economy and the standard of living of every American. Indeed, the possible failure of one of these global megabanks and the resulting financial calamity they would cause is nothing less than a Damocles Sword hanging over the economic throats of every American.

So, don't laugh about #AskJPM. It's not just a PR blunder or poor judgment about the use of social media. It is a window into the ongoing pathetic thinking and insularity of Wall Street CEOs and executives who run the biggest, most dangerous banks in the world. And, remember, these are many of the same people whose reckless, illegal and almost certainly criminal conduct caused the worst financial crash since 1929 and the worst economy since the Great Depression. They are also the same people fighting financial reform intended to prevent them from doing that again.