Jamie Dimon Says He Supports Taxing The Rich, But Opposes Dems' "Wealth Tax"

Before COVID-19 ruined the party, life was good for wealthy Americans. After more than 8 years of interest rates at zero, US stocks were trading at some of their highest valuations since the dot-com era, and the only real problem for the American elite was the growing backlash to worsening 'economic inequality' (ie white college educated millennials realizing they would never achieve the lifestyles their parents seemed to earn so effortlessly).

Then Bernie Sanders officially announced his candidacy in early 2019, and suddenly, bankers found themselves back in the crosshairs. Elizabeth Warren started a battle with Sanders over who could propose the most onerous 'wealth tax', something that would be unprecedented in the US, which - like most places - typically sticks to taxing peoples' income, not their savings.

With the specter of socialism looming over the Democratic primary, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon decided to take a stand. Although he seemed to have no problem with socialism when he took oodles of government money during the financial crisis, Dimon penned a shareholder letter, and made several media appearances where he defended American capitalism as a peerless wealth-creation machine.

Now, with two months to go until the election, and California and New York battling to enact the first state-level "wealth tax" in the nation, "St. Jamie" Dimon is back.

And as Capital Economics Chairman Roger Bootle warns that COVID-19 could usher in a wave of (confiscatory) wealth taxes around the world, Dimon is warning that while he fully supports raising taxes on "people like me", a wealth tax that targets savings and/or assets simply isn't the way to do it.

"A wealth tax is almost impossible to do," Dimon said during an interview with CNBC at the JP Morgan India summit after being asked about the Democratic proposals. Asked to elaborate, Dimon said that wealthy people typically hide most of their wealth in places called 'tax shelters', a behavior that a 'wealth tax' would almost certainly aggravate.

"I’m not against having higher tax on the wealthy. But I think that you do that through their income as opposed to, you know, calculate wealth which becomes extremely complicated, legalistic, bureaucratic, regulatory, and people find a million ways around it. I would just tax income," Dimon said. He argued that it's far more difficult for rich people to cheat on their income, since it's inevitably "given" to them by another source, who is also reporting it.  

With Biden expected to roll back the Trump tax cuts if elected, America's richest are already moving assets offshore, or taking other steps to preserve the wealth bonanza unleashed by the cuts. Amazingly, when asked, Dimon actually defended the Trump tax cuts, before pivoting to a discussion about how President Trump has helped destroy the bureaucratic "red tape" that Dimon said can stifle growth. And remember, when economic growth takes a hit, the most vulnerable are the most at risk.

"And I remind people, the world, when you slow down the economy, you are hurting the disadvantaged more than anybody else,” he said.

However the US decides to go about raising taxes, officials must be careful to ensure that they don't do it in a way that impedes growth.

"There’re taxes which will slow down growth, like taxes on capital formation, or labor; and there’re taxes which will not affect growth like taxes on, you know, well-to-do people like me," said Dimon.

"And I just think there should be far more thought about taxation...if you want an active, healthy growing economy."

Watch the video below:

It's just the latest reminder that Dimon and his billionaire pals doesn't actually want the government to raise taxes on the wealthy - it's all just more virtue-signaling, folks.

Remember: Seven years after he shut down Mike Mayo, Jamie Dimon is still "richer than you". And he wants things to stay that way.