Jamie Dimon has met the American economy's enemy, and it is us.
The JPMorgan Chase CEO brayed his thoughts on the sluggish economy to a crowd of employees and probably-bewildered customers at a local Chase branch in Upper Arlington, Ohio, on Tuesday.
To sum up, Dimon's message was: Aren't you all ashamed of yourselves for what you have done?
"It's because of us. We scapegoat each other. We point fingers," Dimon said, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
Some economists say the economy is limping along because consumers are still too weighed down by debt. Some say it's because policy makers haven't done enough to help. Some say it's because banks just refuse to lend. Dimon knows better.
The real reason the economy is doing poorly, according to Dimon, is because of our constant finger-pointing and asking of unhelpful questions, like: "Why aren't banks holding more capital?" and "Why aren't any of you bastards in jail?" and "Who took all of my money?"
The Dispatch writes (italics are mine):
Dimon pointed to last summer's debate in Washington over raising the debt ceiling and critical comments made of banks and other businesses as examples of how such episodes sap the confidence of consumers and businesses to invest and expand.
Why is it so hard for you people to understand that the economy is not being held back at all by the almost daily outbreak of banking-sector scandals and screw-ups, often involving Jamie Dimon's own bank, JPMorgan Chase? Things like the Flash Crash and the Facebook IPO and the MF Global collapse and the Knight Capital collapse and JPMorgan's $5.8 billion London Whale loss and the widespread, habitual manipulation of Libor -- a scandal also involving JPMorgan -- to name just a few. Of course none of those things hurt consumer or business confidence, because of the free market.
Similarly, when Jamie Dimon blames you for wrecking the economy, that doesn't wreck the economy, but when you blame banks for wrecking the economy, that does wreck the economy. See the difference?
It's an important message, so it's a good thing Dimon is finally back in the game of spreading it. He took a few months off while trying to clean up after his super-well-managed bank's massive loss gambling on derivatives. But before that bit of unpleasantness, he was relentless in spreading the gospel of blaming people and regulators for their anti-bank, economy-killing ways. It's good to have him back.