Monday, 14 May 2012

What, me worry?

You don’t have to be versed in financial arcana to understand what happened at JPMorgan Chase last week: one of the TBTF (Too Big To Fail) banks, still somehow permitted to keep a room at the Bellagio after having lost the house, the car and baby’s shoes at the craps table in 2008, went ahead and dropped another $2 billion in roulette. The latest update is that it’s probably going to be at least $3 billion.

This was just days after Jamie Dimon, the arrogant prick who heads the bank, had told everyone to go to hell because they’re stupid and he’s smart. Banks should NOT be supervised while gambling with other people’s money, he snorted indignantly, because we know exactly what we’re doing.

Now the difficult question for Mr Dimon is, Were you lying or simply clueless about what was happening under your nose?

We should not expect anything much to come of this—although some pieces of the Dodd-Frank rules could survive as a result of the massive screw-up. But the Greek debacle has shown how far things have to deteriorate before people react against the traditional elites who have led them to mass suicide. No doubt the Romney and Obama camps both are furiously negotiating at this moment to see who can offer Dimon the best escape from his world-class embarrassment so that the campaign dollars can continue to flow.

Meanwhile, although the alternative represented by the Occupy movement is still in onesies, there are bright spots: Occupy the SEC, comprised of finance professionals who can go toe-to-toe on the technical details, alerted regulators to exactly the loophole exploited by Dimon, to his current, temporary chagrin. Isn’t it lovely that people painted as scruffy deadbeats in plastic tents turned out to know more than hundreds of corrupted legislators?

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