JPMorgan Chase acknowledges $2 billion trading loss
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, said Thursday that it lost $2 billion in the past six weeks in a trading portfolio designed to hedge against risks the company takes with its own money. The exotic financial investments got the world in trouble in 2008. The question a lot of people are asking now, did JPMorgan Chase learn nothing?
I know the answer to that one. JP Morgan Chase learned a lot from the 2008 debacle. They learned that unlike the rest of us, if they gamble on irresponsible investments, the rest of us (taxpayers) will give them trillions of interest free dollars. They learnt that they can pull off the biggest heist in history and not go to jail. They may even be given a top position guarding our financial henhouse. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, currently sits on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Ironically, that’s the very organization that is supposed to oversee his bank’s financial practices, the organization that is supposed to issue all sorts of regulations that control what his bank can do. nothing has It’s also the very organization he has been lobbying to relax the rules about the bets he wants to make. What do you do with a guy like Dimon? In 2008 when high rollers like him nearly collapsed the economy, we were told we had to “keep the talent.” Yet we insist on cutbacks and performance based pay for teachers. Apparently, those greedy characters who educate our children and brown bag it everyday are the real drag on our economy. It seems to me that two billion dollars could hire quite a few teachers. Dimon called the trades his bank made “flawed, complex, poorly reviewed, poorly executed and poorly monitored”, but hey that’s the kind of talent we just can’t afford to lose.
This episode should be a red flag that four years after the 2008 meltdown the problem has not been fixed. As a matter of fact the problem has become worse. Remember “Too Big To Fail”? Well, the surviving mega banks are much bigger. Instead of breaking them up into smaller institutions, we have accomplished the opposite. The five largest banks, which controlled $6.1 trillion in assets before the collapse, by the end of 2011 had assets worth $8.5 trillion — equal to more than half of U.S. economic output. And while the banks may be too big too fail, that doesn’t mean the individual bankers like Dimon should be. If the heads of the banks who orchestrated the risky manuvers that caused widespread economic disaster were sent to to jail and had their worth confiscated, perhaps the next generation of top dogs might be more reticent to try the same dirty tricks.
The Justice Department is going to launch an investigation on the JPMorgan Chase fiasco. I doubt that Dimon and his colleagues are shaking in their boots considering it’s the same government that failed to enact much of the Dodd-Frank bill over the last three and a half years.
I’m just an artist not a economist, but it seems simple enough to me that if the banks were to big to fail before, we might want to try breaking them up into smaller banks. And maybe while we’re at it we could reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act. But at the top of the Big Banks’ asset sheets are our politicians, so we won’t be doing that. That means the recent JPMorgan thing is just a miniscule pre-bearer of what is to come.
So we know what the Wall Street fat cats learned from the 2008 meltdown. The rest of should learn to pay close attention to which politicians are doing what and let them know if they don’t start working to protect our bottom line, there’s going to be a very hostile take-over.