They're missing the point. When CEO Jamie Dimon announced that JPMorgan Chase had incurred at least $2 billion in losses from risky, unsecured, derivatives-types trading, it uncovered the scandal of our time once and for all.
The Chase disaster gives us a much-needed a glimpse into our corrupt political system, its Wall Street paymasters, and the media voices that allow people like Dimon to escape scrutiny.
The JPMorgan Chase story is the story behind the financial crisis that has thrown millions of people out of work. It's the story behind our ever-growing wealth inequity. It's the story behind Washington's inability to prosecute criminal bankers, regulate reckless ones, and propose the economic solutions the rest of us urgently need.
Predictably, the pundits who aid and abet people like Jamie Dimon are dismissing this story's importance, pointing out that $2 billion (it could become much more) pales against the $19 billion in profit Chase reported last year.
But it was potentially $2 billion earned through crime. And more importantly, this story isn't just about Chase's errors and crimes. It's much bigger than that.
Besides, $19 billion in a single year? That's a big part of the story, too.
The Case Against Chase, its CEO, and its accomplices is too big to cover all at once. Here are the aspects of this under-reported story we plan to address in the days and weeks to come.
Depending on the day and the measurement used, JPMorgan Chase is now the largest or second-largest bank in the world. Its Japan operation alone has been cited by that nation's regulators as a systemic risk because of its size.
If Chase began to collapse because of risky betting, the government would be forced to step in again.
Jamie Dimon knows that. It's a lot easier to gamble when you know somebody else will be forced to bail you out if you lose too much.
Chase, like the other mega-banks, has systematically engaged in criminal activity for years. At the same time, it has used its vast wealth to corrupt our political and regulatory systems. And it has been aided and abetted by willing collaborators in the media, every step of the way. It gave up nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in settlements and surrendered fees to settle one case alone -- that of bribery and corruption in Jefferson County, Alabama.
Chase has paid out billions to settle charges that include perjury and forgery (in its systemic foreclosure fraud and abuse), investor fraud, and sale of unregistered securities. And these charges were for actions that took place while Jamie Dimon was the CEO.
The first of Dimon's executives have offered their resignations in this latest scandal. But investigations of everyone from Lucky Luciano onward have focused on the boss, not just the underlings. Laws like the Securities Act and Sarbanes-Oxley provide strict legal guidelines for corporate CEOs and their staff. There's strong evidence to suggest those laws have been stretched to the breaking point -- and beyond.
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