In an October 2017 interview, Jamie Dimon famously lambasted Bitcoin as a “fraud” and the people who bought it as “stupid” which, temporarily, halted the ascent in the Bitcoin price. It also led to much heated debate in the mainstream media and much anger across the crypto community. In a just as incendiary follow up, Dimon sat down for another interview, this time as “The Economic Club of Chicago”.
We wondered whether he would confirm recent reports that JPMorgan Chase would buy and sell Bitcoin futures for clients after the upcoming launch on the CME. Sadly, he wasn’t pressed on this question. Instead, he had some striking comments about the longevity of Trump’s Presidency, as Reuters reports.
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co, on Wednesday said he expects to see a new U.S. president in 2021 and advised the Democratic party to come up with a “pro-free enterprise” agenda for jobs and economic growth instead. Asked at a luncheon hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago how many years Republican President Donald Trump will be in office, Dimon said, “If I had to bet, I’d bet three and half. But the Democrats have to come up with a reasonable candidate ... or Trump will win again.”
Dimon, who in the past has described himself as “barely” a Democrat, has been going to Washington more often since the 2016 elections to lobby lawmakers on issues including changes in corporate taxes, immigration policies and mortgage finance.
In December, Dimon became chairman of the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs who take their views to government policymakers.
As Bloomberg adds, Dimon had “several digs” at Trump during the hour-long discussion which covered issues from the current tax reform, lessons from the financial crisis and gender equality in the workplace.
Regarding the nation to the south, Dimon said that “we should never be rude to a neighbor like Mexico." Dimon conceded that sometimes the president is "partially right,” like on his stance with China, which has unfair advantages in terms of trade. And the CEO offered his opinion that Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan should be president, based on the job he’s done with that city.
Dimon, who is chairman of the Business Roundtable in addition to running the largest U.S. bank, also proposed what he’d like to see in the tax overhaul that Trump aims to make the signature achievement of his first year in office. The U.S. needs to cut corporate rates to keep businesses from moving abroad, even if that means raising rates for wealthy individuals and removing the carried interest tax break for investment managers, Dimon said.
Pushing negative tax rates for low income individuals and limiting state and local tax deduction, because it benefits the wealthy, Dimon was on fine form in terms of showing his “caring” side. From Bloomberg.
“I don’t think the private equity guys should argue for carried interest, I don’t think the hedge fund guys should be arguing for deferrals, I don’t think I should argue for reducing my rate,” he said. “If you want to raise my rate, so be it.”
Moving on to gender, race and how he loves his job, Bloomberg reports.
Dimon spoke for several minutes about discrimination over gender and race which he said is not acknowledged enough in the United States. “If you’re white, paint yourself black and walk down the street one day, and you’ll probably have a little more empathy for how some of these folks get treated,” Dimon said. “We need to make a special effort because this is a special problem.”
Dimon gave his own bank a mixed review on diversity. His direct reports include people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), and half are women as are 30 percent of the top 200 JPMorgan executives, he said.
Now in his 12th year as JPMorgan’s CEO, Dimon also reflected a bit on his own role. “I basically love my job,” Dimon said. “I mean, it’s tiring; it’s exhausting. I have to go down to Washington all the time and it’s a big pain in the ass, but I basically love my job.”
Bloomberg also reports that Dimon is going to write a book about the financial crisis. We presume he means the last one, not the one that’s coming, although if he waits a little longer, he should be able to do both. If it’s the last one, we look forward to hearing why JPM, as Lehman’s main “clearing” bank, deprived Lehman of billions of dollars of collateral just prior to the latter going bankrupt. JPM was subsequently fined $1.42 billion.
As for Jamie Dimon, he is worth over a billion dollars. He is also, infamously, "richer than you."