Photo: Business Insider
It’s rare that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has 20 full minutes to sit down and talk to reporters — but luckily there’s Davos.Earlier today, CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin caught up with Dimon (after apparently having dinner with him the night before), and got to chat with him about nearly everything that matters — politics, finance, and the health of the global economy.
Naturally, that brought up a lot of sore spots, the worst of them being American politics. Dimon said he was tired of the finger pointing, the scape-goating, and all the double talk about the economy. There is however, one person who has avoided all of that.
“Ben Bernanke has been a total adult through this whole thing,” said Dimon, and obviously the whole poker-faced maturity thing is really important to him. He mentioned Bernanke after Sorkin asked him about the Buffett rule, and his reactions to the two couldn’t have been more different.
“I might support something like that,” he said after Sorkin explained the rule. He seemed a little frustrated, though.
See, the thing with Dimon (and it showed up over and over in this interview) — is that he doesn’t like catchy names for policies that don’t clearly state the issue at hand. He says that if the government wants to raise taxes, it should just say so outright — no name calling, no advertising copy.
“Wall Street wouldn’t mind going from 35% to 39.6% rate on earned income…or more on capital gains. I believe most Americans are for progressive tax… but let’s do something fair, balanced and real,” he said.
Not to say that Dimon places all the blame for our country’s tight spot on the government. In his usual blunt manner he called Too Big Too Fail “bankruptcy for big dumb companies. They should be buried, clawbacks should take place, they should be gone. The American public wants to know it’s (bailouts are) not going to cost me money, and I think it could be done.”
And there’s your optimism right there.
No, Dimon isn’t happy with all regulation (he cited a lack of coordination and some pro-cyclical policies in Basel as some reasons why), but he is confident that some of the answers to our problems are embedded in legislation like Dodd-Frank. He even said he liked new regulation on capital requirements, liquidity and clearing houses.
All in all, Dimon’s clearly confident as ever about the American economy. Greek default? American banks are ready. If JPMorgan failed? Regulators could handle it:
“America’s going to come back in a strong way,” he told Sorkin.
You can see the full interview yourself below: