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Robert Reich

Jamie Dimon's bizarre idea about why the recovery has stalled

Strict banking regulations are to blame, Dimon says. Really?

By Guest blogger / June 9, 2011

Jamie Dimon raises his hand during a testimony of TARP recipient financial institution leaders on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this February 11, 2009, file photo. Mr. Dimon says that strict banking regulations are making the economic recovery slow down. Guest blogger Robert Reich wants to know, is he living on another planet?

Larry Downing / Reuters / File

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According to JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, the recovery has stalled because of strict banking regulation.

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I’m not making this up.

At a financial conference today, Dimon told Fed chief Ben Bernanke there’s no longer any reason to crack down on Wall Street. “Most of the bad actors are gone,” he said. “[O]ff-balance-sheet businesses are virtually obliterated, … money market funds are far more transparent” and “most very exotic derivatives are gone.”

Dimon said he worried that financial reform legislation is “holding us back at this point” from a stronger economy.

Someone should remind Dimon that a few years ago, before any stricter regulation or oversight went into effect, he and his colleagues on the Street almost eviscerated the American economy. Remember, Jamie? The Street’s antics required a giant taxpayer-funded bailout.

JPMorgan Chase and the other giant banks on Wall Street are bigger than they were before. And now they’re certain they’re too big to fail. Without far stricter regulation they have every incentive to repeat their binge.

Dimon believes most of the bad actors are gone. To the contrary, none of the truly bad actors has been prosecuted. In fact, most are making more money than ever before.

Off budget businesses obliterated? Funds more transparent? Exotic derivatives gone? Dimon still doesn’t get it. The only reason there’s been any progress at all to date is because rules have been tightened and regulators are more vigilant. But at this very moment the banks — including JPMorgan Chase — are lobbying heavily to relax the rules so they can return to their old ways.

The recovery has stalled because most Americans are still in the gravitational pull of the recession — unable and unwilling to buy enough to keep the economy going. And that’s largely because the terrible consequences of what Dimon et al did to the economy are still being felt by most Americans.

On what planet has Jamie Dimon been living?

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