The USA faces ‘economic tragedy’ in its near future unless changes are made in public policy, Jamie Dimon, CEO of multinational banking and finance company JP Morgan Chase & Co, has announced in his latest annual letter.
‘We have serious issues that we need to address,’ he wrote, ‘even the United States does not have a divine right to success.’
And those issues, the letter says, lie in the hands of ‘sanctimonious ideology’ and ‘scapegoating’ by policymakers – just two of a number of jabs seemingly directed at the current presidential candidates.
The final section of the 298-page document, titled ‘Good Public Policy is Critically Important,’ tackles the failures and successes of the US and other countries in what Dimon said is ‘not a partisan way.’
Argentina, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea all get a drubbing for taking ‘ineffective actions in the name of the people,’ but it’s Detroit that’s hit hardest.
The Motor City is described as having been a ‘train wreck in slow motion for 20 years’ with ‘unsustainable finances, corrupt government and a declining population that went from 2 million residents to just over 750,000.’
JP Morgan, he says, is investing in the city because its Democratic mayor and Republican governor are working together, promising strengthened police, improved schools and rehabilitating neighborhoods – ‘real things that actually matter and will help the people of Detroit.’
He added: ‘[The governor and mayor] do not couch their agenda in sanctimonious ideology’ – one of a series of remarks seemingly aimed at the US political class.
Those swipes came again when he commented on his key concerns: ‘long-term fiscal and tax issues (driven mostly by healthcare and Social Security costs, as well as complex and poorly designed corporate and individual taxes), immigration, education (especially in inner city schools) and the need for good, long-term infrastructure plans.’
With a good five-to-ten years before the dangers of these issues are fully clear, he warned, the government risks being ‘lulled into a false sense of security’ – and getting caught up in ‘bad politics’ that seem like pointed remarks at both Republican and Democrat candidates.
‘The problem is not that the U.S. economy won’t be able to take care of its citizens,’ he wrote, ‘it is that taking away benefits, creating inter-generational warfare and scapegoating will make for very difficult and bad politics. This is a tragedy that we can see coming.’
His letter closes with a list of do’s and don’ts that reiterate the concerns made earlier, of an increasingly ideologically led, uncompromising and uncommunicative political culture.
Don’t ‘treat every decision like it is binary – my way or your way’ he warned, but instead take on board other opinions. And don’t ‘make straw men or scapegoats’ to dismiss the opinions of others.
Don’t ‘denigrate a whole class of people or society,’ he wrote; don’t equate ‘perception with reality’ or treat someone’s comments as if they are complaints.
Meanwhile, he said, do constantly analyze what is and isn’t working, and come up with solutions for what does not; do listen to one another; and do collaborate and compromise.
‘Collaborating and compromising. They are a necessity in a democracy. Also, you can compromise without violating your principles, but it is nearly impossible to compromise when you turn principles into ideology.’