May 16, 2012
Without even waiting a decent interval for mourning, JPMorgan Chase Chairman Jamie Dimon launched his defense campaign over the disclosure that he presided over a $2-billion trading loss in derivatives within days of the disclosure itself, choosing the comforting confines of NBC’s “Meet the Press” for the campaign kick-off.
Dimon’s theme was essentially as follows: “Hey, everybody makes mistakes — sure, we lost $2 billion, but we’ve still got billions more, and we’ll figure out this one ourselves without the need for any further regulations, thank you.”
His argument is plainly designed to distract from the right way to think about JPM’s fiasco, which is that it’s exactly the sort of thing that regulations should forbid banks from doing, lest they destroy the financial system — again.
Dimon certainly showed supreme skill in choosing his venue. In “Meet the Press” host David Gregory he had a questioner who is expert in the honored television tradition of taking interviewees at their own level of self-esteem. Also someone who is so clueless about how banks and investment markets work that he hasn’t got the slightest idea of what questions to ask, much less how to follow up on an answer.