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Dimon Says Being American Abroad 'Almost an Embarrassment'

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 5 days ago Hugh Son
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JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, fresh from a work trip overseas, unloaded on everything that’s holding back U.S. businesses.

“It’s almost an embarrassment being an American traveling around the world,” Dimon, 61, said on a conference call with analysts. He doesn’t like listening to the “stupid s***” Americans have to deal with, expressing frustration over the nation’s inability to invest in infrastructure and overhaul the tax code. “There would be much stronger growth if there were more intelligent decisions and less gridlock.”

Dimon heaped his ire on the U.S. media during an earlier call with reporters to discuss JPMorgan’s second-quarter results. Reporters should focus on the major issues the nation faces rather than the vagaries of the firm’s trading businesses, he said. The biggest U.S. bank reported record profit despite a 19 percent revenue drop for its bond-trading franchise.

“The United States of America has to start to focus on policy which is good for all Americans, and that is infrastructure, regulation, taxation, education,” Dimon said. “Why you guys don’t write about it every day is completely beyond me. And, like, who cares about fixed-income trading in the last two weeks of June? I mean, seriously.”

Drug Epidemic

BC-DIMON-EMBARRASSED-1© Hugh Son BC-DIMON-EMBARRASSED-1

Dimon, his voice rising, reeled off statistics to highlight the nation’s failures: Half of the kids in “inner-city schools” don’t graduate; the opioid epidemic claims 35,000 lives a year; and the U.S. hasn’t built a major airport in 20 years, he said.

Dimon had just returned from visiting Israel, Ireland and France, where governments “deeply recognize” the importance of a competitive corporate tax scheme, he said.

While bemoaning policies that have restrained economic growth, Dimon, who’s a member of President Donald Trump’s advisory council of business leaders, stopped short of blaming the administration. Gridlock in Washington isn’t likely to further harm U.S. growth rates because they’re already muted by bad policies, Dimon said.

A reporter, in a follow-up question, asked the CEO if he’s frustrated with the Trump administration.

“No,” Dimon said. “That was frustration with you.”

See also: JPMorgan proves Wall Street profits don’t depend on traders

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugh Son in New York at hson1@bloomberg.net. 

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael J. Moore at mmoore55@bloomberg.net, Peter Eichenbaum

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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