On Monday, Reuters released a fascinating report on Jamie Dimon’s recent activity in Washington D.C. Activity that has made the head of JPMorgan Chase look an awful lot like corporate America’s shadow president.
The 61-year-old banker has made more than a dozen trips to Washington so far this year to press a broad agenda with a range of influential policymakers, people who attended the meetings or are familiar with his schedule said. Dimon has already visited the nation’s capital four times as much as he does in a typical year.
His ramped-up presence comes after taking the helm of the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents CEOs of large U.S. companies, in December.
“We couldn’t ask for a more engaged or more effective Business Roundtable chair,” said Joshua Bolten, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, whom Dimon installed as the organization’s president and CEO.
The frequency of his trips, and the wide range of policies he has been discussing, have started chatter among power brokers in Washington and on Wall Street about how much energy Dimon is devoting to issues beyond JPMorgan.
At times, they said, Dimon carries himself more like someone running the country than someone running a bank. (emphasis added)
Dimon has publicly said before that he is frustrated with the state of political discourse in Washington, and that he doesn’t trust that the political powers that be can come together to deliver policy that solves problems.
Then Tuesday, in an appearance at the DeliveringAlpha Conference, Dimon ripped the current state of the U.S. economy, saying growth is being held back by a lack of action in Washington.
He said, “We can’t build bridges. It takes ten years to get a permit to build a bridge. We’re not training our kids in inner city schools. Our corporate tax system is unbelievably uncompetitive, has been that way for years, they’re driving capital and brains overseas. Immigration system is driving brains overseas. We should keep all the people who earn advanced degrees and college degrees here. And our work labor force participation just think, one cohort, men 25 to 55, is down 10% from like 30 years ago. And don’t tell me that’s the new normal. There’s something wrong. 20% of that some people estimate is because of drugs. 80% is – obviously Republicans will say it’s because we have incentives not to work. Maybe incentives are too low to work. But all I’ve ever said is, if we did things right, we’d be growing 3%.”
If that doesn’t sound like a campaign platform, I don’t know what would.
Donald Trump proved in the last election that a prominent businessman can win the presidency without ever having held public office before, so there is precedence if Dimon runs for the office in 2020.
“If you’re Jamie Dimon, you’ve always had access,” Tim Pawlenty, CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Wall Street trade group, said. “The difference is, now he wants it. He wants to play a role in policy more broadly than just representing his company.”