Billionaire Jamie Dimon Is Allergic to Vilification

The general public should determine: Ought to billionaires be taxed out of existence, banished from the republic or pressured to do the bidding of the poor in the future within the yr in a contemporary model of the medieval “Feast of Fools”? Put one other manner, the media have determined that the fisticuffs, specifically between Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren and the billionaire class, has turn into the most well-liked excessive sport of the season.

Jamie Dimon, CEO and chairman of JPMorgan Chase, is an enormous identify in finance however — if there may be such a factor — a small billionaire, with a web value clocking in at a mere $1.6 billion. That’s however about thrice Jeffrey Epstein’s estimated fortune. And everybody now is aware of about Epstein’s lavish way of life. He owned a Caribbean island, a personal jet nicknamed the Lolita Categorical, outlandishly costly property in New York and Paris, and far else, together with a portray of Invoice Clinton in drag. And together with his spare money, he paid for the maintenance of numerous underage girls given a uncommon alternative to hobnob (if that’s the correct verb) with the elite, together with US presidents, British royalty and movie star attorneys.

Dimon needs us to consider that, although he’s a billionaire, he has a powerful ethical sense or not less than a commanding sense of decency. He objects to gratuitous criticism, particularly of himself and his variety. He makes an vital distinction in his “60 Minutes” interview aired on November 11: “I believe it is best to vilify Nazis, however you shouldn’t vilify individuals who labored laborious to perform issues.”

Right here is immediately’s 3D definition:


Deal with somebody as vile or of base ethical value, a observe thought of socially maladroit, to be prevented particularly with individuals who have proven their capability to be authentically vile, coupled with their failure to acknowledge it.

Contextual Be aware

There’s no apparent motive to suppose that Dimon is vile, particularly if vile is taken within the conventional sense of being of low value. With $1.6 billion to his identify, his huge value is uncontestable. It’s true that Dimon lands close to the underside of the billionaire class — that means even Donald Trump could consider him as an upstart, if not a “loser” — however not solely does the possession of a billion {dollars} place him within the highest echelons of wealth, however his wage of $30 million a yr is significantly greater than most billionaires hope to earn from their labors… once they even have labors (aside from philanthropy, their most popular type of PR).

However as Dimon says, in protection of fellow billionaires, as a result of they “work laborious” and “accomplish issues,” they need to solely be vilified in the event that they be part of the Nazi social gathering. This presumably signifies that odd fascists ought to get a cross. It’s the Nazi bit that deserves vilification.

The interviewer, Lesley Stahl, needs to know who’s the goal of the progressive Democrats’ vilification? Is it Dimon himself? Or is it the category Dimon belongs to, that of billionaire bankers? Dimon could also be taking issues too personally. What individuals vilify is much less the person billionaires themselves than their acts. Politics must be about what individuals do, not who they’re. However the media have good causes for preferring the second strategy.

At one level in his “60 Minutes” interview, Dimon even seems to agree that through the 2008 monetary disaster, sins have been dedicated. He refuses to call names (a consequence of there being “honor amongst thieves”?), however he does really feel justified in outright vilifying a few of his colleagues when he admits the next: “I consider that there have been individuals … who have been grasping, egocentric, did the incorrect stuff, overpaid themselves and couldn’t give a rattling.”

At the very least they weren’t Nazis, since Dimon would possibly then have felt it obligatory to call names. By his personal requirements, being egocentric and grasping and doing the “incorrect stuff” doesn’t advantage vilification, so why has he resorted to Senator Warren’s vile ways. These egocentric individuals have been, in any case, working laborious and carrying out issues.

Historic Be aware

Some could take into account it a dodge on Jamie Dimon’s half to set the bar so excessive by solely together with Nazis amongst those that should be vilified, however it does conveniently get him off the hook, particularly when some individuals have completed a thorough evaluation of his very actual crimes. On Dimon’s watch, JPMorgan Chase has been condemned for a number of crimes and fined practically $29 billion over the previous seven years. JPMorgan Chase is “the one U.S. financial institution in historical past to have pleaded responsible to 3 felony felony counts and saved the identical man, Dimon, as its CEO regardless of the unprecedented felony fees,” write Pam Martens and Russ Martens.

For that stage of felony exercise, we would count on a punishment just like Eric Garner’s for peddling contraband cigarettes in the identical metropolis wherein Dimon works. Garner’s punishment was to be strangled on the street by the authorities. Dimon has by no means been threatened with jail.

As a reward for that capacity to “accomplish issues” whereas personally escaping prosecution and accepting fines that, regardless of their measurement, are nowhere close to the revenue these crimes produced, Dimon has one of many highest salaries on Wall Road. And as he defined to Lesley Stahl, it might sound extreme, however he didn’t ask for that wage. In a variation of the previous pretext, “the satan made me do it,” Dimon insists that the board made him take it. He’s a passive sufferer of the arbitrary will of his board that apparently feels he wants that stage of wage. It could merely be the value they pay for Dimon’s accepting to be the figurehead who accepts to take the rap.

CBS made a intelligent transfer by interviewing Dimon. No interviewee may have completed a greater job demonstrating why the battle towards billionaires stirs feelings and makes for an thrilling public debate. Dimon’s protection was feeble, however don’t rely on CBS or any of the company media to take the aspect of the progressive politicians attacking the billionaires.

As a media outlet, CBS needs to stir the drama, appeal to the eyeballs, stoke the hearth and, extra usually, provoke waves of indignation on each side. “Extra noise” is the message on a placard utilized in sporting occasions to get the group’s feelings going. CBS is aware of that the billionaires don’t have anything to concern as a result of there are not less than seven stable perimeters of protection towards the eventual assault of the plenty, the obvious one being that the plenty would want billions of {dollars} to fund their revolution, however the billions they want all occur to be on the opposite aspect, a few of it within the fingers of the media themselves.

Does anybody critically consider that Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, as soon as elected, may implement a wealth tax? Barack Obama, with a majority in each homes of Congress, couldn’t even shut Guantanamo Bay, the one concrete and uncomplicated factor he promised to do on his very first day in workplace. The purpose of the talk for the media has little to do with public coverage and fewer with political ethics and financial justice. It has every thing to do with promoting emotion and stimulating the general public’s feeling of righteous indignation.

*[Within the age of Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, one other American wit, the journalist Ambrose Bierce, produced a collection of satirical definitions of generally used phrases, throwing mild on their hidden meanings in actual discourse. Bierce ultimately collected and printed them as a e book, The Satan’s Dictionary, in 1911. We’ve got shamelessly appropriated his title within the curiosity of constant his healthful pedagogical effort to enlighten generations of readers of the information.]

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.

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