Jamie Dimon spoke about witnessing a widespread loss of confidence in the recovery recently in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.”We went through a financial crisis and there were a lot of reasons for it and we haven’t come out of it in a strong way like we’d have liked to. So people are starting to question a little bit.”
The CEO of JPMorgan Chase said that disillusionment is aimed in part at Wall Street. “If you are the average American citizen, you had to be looking at what happened and saying to Wall Street, ‘What happened? I thought you guys were smart.'”
And then he began to propose a solution for the crisis. He suggested that the only way to recover from that is by an improvement in the 9% unemployment number.
“I think the recent upset is that it’s been a long time of 9% unemployment,” he said.
Chase is doing its part to aid the recovery, he said, by lending to small businesses. (In fact, he didn’t give himself credit for this but, Dimon has petitioned vocally for lower capital requirements, which would enable banks to lend more money out.)
But because of regulation, there’s only so much banks can do. As for what the government can do, however, there are at least 3 things.
- Fix the antiquated tax code. Major companies and small businesses are paralysed by uncertainty because of future tax policy and pending regulation, he said, according to AJC.
- Stop demonizing business. “I personally think the people who are busy demonizing business are doing it damage. Business is the economic engine.”
The biggest is 3., a new “Marshall Plan.” He told the AJC that it would be a multi-pronged approach that would fix the national economy and get people working again.
“I think America is strong and it’s going to come back,” he said.
The Marshall Plan was the U.S. monetary aid program to spur a recovery and rebuild economies in Europe after WWII.
Interestingly, Dimon is not the only one that has proposed this solution – just the only one to do so in the U.S.
And Egypt’s job’s minister said at the World Economic Forum meeting at the Dead Sea in Jordan at the weekend: “A Marshall plan is needed.”
That both Dimon and Middle Eastern leaders are calling for monetary aid in order to stabilise economic and social unrest provides an interesting parallel given the Occupy Wall Street protests spreading throughout the U.S. Dimon and his firm have experienced their ire first hand more than a few times.
One might view Dimon’s call for a Marshall Plan as a signal that he is taking the social unrest in the U.S. evident in the protesters’ marches on Wall Street more seriously than most. And rather than simply comment on the protests, or open up his lines of communication to them, like other Wall Street CEOs have done, Dimon has suggested a tangible olive branch: a solution that helps everyone in the U.S.