And proud of it! Note that the New York Stock Exchange long ago choose a pair of animals to depict both the market’s rampaging power and its voracious nature. One is a snorting bull, representing surging stock prices, and the other is a bear, representing a down market devouring stock value.
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But Charles, a creative citizen in Holly Hill, Florida, wrote to me suggesting that a third animal is needed to depict the true nature of the Wall Street beast: A hog. Not a little piggy – but a HOG, a really big one.
Yes! And we could name it “Jamie.” Jamie Dimon, I mean, the multimillionaire, silver-haired, golden-tongued CEO of JPMorgan Chase. For years, Dimon and Chase have wallowed in the warm glow of America’s financial, political, and media limelight, hailed as paragons of Wall Street management and ethics. But, suddenly last summer, a big “oink” erupted from Chase, and Jamie’s inner-hoggishness surfaced. A $2 billion trading loss, which Dimon haughtily dismissed at first as “as tempest in a teapot,” turned out to be a staggering $6 billion dollar loss.
And now, a scathing senate report reveals that this was not a mere “trade blunder” by Chase underlinings, but the product of a systemic corporate culture of recklessness, greed, and deception. An internal email from Jamie himself, with the words “I approve,” shows that the stench can be traced all the way to the top. Not only did Dimon know what was going on, he enabled it. What we have here is the same triple whammy that hit us in 2007: Ethical rot at the top of banks, sycophantish politicians, and willfully-blind bank regulators.
Won’t Wall Streeters ever learn? No – not until prosecutors gut it up and go after them. Far from punishment, Dimon is still Boss Hog of JPMorgan and was paid $11.5 million in January. E-I-E-I-O!
“Letter from Charles B.” Holly Hill, Florida, March 18, 2013.
“Lesson Learned After Financial Crisis: Nothing Much Has Changed,” The New York Times, March 20, 2013.
“Former Chase execs grilled on trade loss,” Austin American Statesman, March 16, 2013.
“Senate Inquiry Faults JPMorgan On Trading Loss,” The New York Times, March 15, 2013.
“The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Jamie Dimon, Wall Street’s Golden Boy,” www.alternet.org, March 19, 2013.
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