Matt Taibbi on the laughable questioning of J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s at a Senate hearing last Thursday:
The senators could have used the hearing as an opportunity to grill Dimon in detail about the entire history of the Chief Investment Office, the unit of Chase that recently copped to unexpected multibillion-dollar derivative trading losses. This was an opportunity to show Americans how a too-big-to-fail commercial bank like Chase – supported by vast amounts of public treasure, from Fed loans to bailouts to less obvious subsidies like GSE purchases of mortgages and implicit guarantees of bank debt – uses the crutch of government support to gamble recklessly in search of huge profits, with the public on the hook for any potential downside.
The senators should have interrogated Dimon about his role in moving toward that reckless gambling strategy. Instead, they mostly cowered and cringed and sat mute with thumbs in their mouths, while Dimon evaded, patted himself on the back, and blew the whole derivative losses episode off as an irrelevant accident caused by moron subordinates.
I’ll say this again – thank God for reporters like Taibbi. There are few people out there providing serious commentary on these topics, and his take on Wall St and the state of the American financial industry should be required reading.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.