At a quarterly meeting of the Business Roundtable, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon bashed socialism as a “big mistake.” Dimon did not mention that taxpayers bailed his bank out to the tune of $25 billion in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008.
“When government owns and controls companies used for political purposes, not economic purposes, it usually means jobs and votes and can lead to huge deterioration,” said Dimon.
In addition to the post-collapse bailout, JPMorgan Chase collects annual subsidies from the federal government of roughly $14 billion per year. Investopedia refers to this as “privatizing profits and socializing losses.” And Chase doesn’t exactly have a history of being graceful about this taxpayer funding.
“Socialism inevitably produces stagnation, corruption and often worse – such as authoritarian government officials who often have an increasing ability to interfere with both the economy and individual lives – which they frequently do to maintain power. This would be as much a disaster for our country as it has been in the other places it’s been tried,” Dimon added.
But America’s capitalist system hasn’t exactly provided an effective shield against stagnation, corruption or autocratic government. Though it was widely seen as a positive measure, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) born out of the economic collapse of 2008 and the bailouts that institutions like Chase received amounted to direct government interference in the economy. As for using the economy to maintain power, that’s one of the oldest tricks in the book for presidential candidates.
And at least one presidential candidate fired back at Dimon.
“I didn’t hear Jamie Dimon criticizing socialism when Wall Street begged for the largest federal bailout in American history—some $700 billion from the Treasury and even more from the Fed,” tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).
Dimon claimed JPMorgan Chase only took the bailout in 2008 because they were asked to, to not single out any particularly troubled Wall Street institution. As for its ongoing state of corporate welfare, it is unclear if this particular form of socialism is as alarming to Dimon.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.