Wreak Havoc, Rob a Bank, Get a Bonus: Class Warfare Unmasked
By Thomas Magstadt
Breaking news that stock markets around the world are in free-fall mode competing with a story about JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon being awarded a heart-stopping, headline-grabbing, tub-thumping pay increase for 2013. What does it mean?
Supposedly, Dimon was asking for his 2013 compensation to be roughly equal to his 2012 pay. But the bank’s board of directors awarded Dimon $20 million for 2013—that’s a tidy $8.5 million raise! Never mind that “JPMorgan Chase recently reached yet another settlement with the U.S. government—a $13 billion deal with the Department of Justice for peddling deceptive mortgages.” Never mind that the bank reported a $400 million loss in the 3rd quarter thanks to a $7.2 billion legal tab. Never mind that this fine, upstanding financial institution is holding $23 billion in reserves for potential litigation. And never mind that we’re talking about a too-big-to-fail bank whose top managers “recklessly gambled with our economy.”
JP Morgan is still flying high and Jamie Dimon got a 74 percent raise last week.To understand what it means consider that the decision to give Dimon a multimillion dollar raise comes at a time when:
1. The minimum wage in this country is a mingy $7.25; it was set in 2009 and many right-wing Republicans, business leaders and libertarians advocate abolishing it.
2. The top one-tenth of one percent who make an average of $23.8 million per household have taken the lion’s share of the nation’s economic growth over the past 30 years; the average income for 90 percent of U.S. households is $31,244.
3. Not one bank has been taken to trial for its role in bringing about the 2008 financial calamity that disrupted the lives of millions of Americans; indeed, Jamie Dimon points to the fact that the bank he heads AVOIDED going to trial by negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department as evidence of his stellar leadership.
4. According to a 2013 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) study, more than 3,200 prisoners are without parole for nonviolent serving life sentences offenses, including siphoning gas from a truck and shoplifting belts from a department store.
5. “In the 2010 campaign cycle, people and political action committees associated with banks gave more than $18.8 million to federal candidates, committees and parties through November 2010.” JPMorgan alone contributed the tidy sum of $671,221 to its favorite candidates and campaigns in 2010. The American Bankers Association chipped in almost a cool million ($919,150).
Meanwhile, back at the bank, most of the 10 board members are—surprise!—rich white guys. The three-member “compensation committee” includes Lee Raymond, the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of ExxonMobil, William C. Weldon, former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Johnson and Johnson, and Stephen Burke, a Harvard MBA, who is CEO of NBCUniversal, Executive Vice President of Comcast and a director of Berkshire Hathaway.
Jamie Dimon is both the CEO and Chairman of the Board that awarded him the oh-so-sweet pay package. For the record, Dimon’s pay in 2007 was $49.9 million. (Presumably, $50 million sounded a bit too tawdry.) For the three-year period, 2009-2011, he pocketed a total of $62.2 million.
Make no mistake: the decision to reward one of the ringleaders in the 2008 Wall Street collapse and subprime crisis with a multimillion dollar raise is not a mindless act by a clutch of privileged cretins. Rather it is a deliberate move freighted with symbolic meaning. These guys are shameless, arrogant and utterly unrepentant. Worse still, the social and economic privileges they enjoy now come with a political guarantee of even greater importance: immunity from prosecution. Thanks in no small part to gerrymandering, the filibuster and Citizens United, the best way to rob a bank in America is to “own” one.
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/wreak-havoc-rob-bank-get-bonus-class-warfare-unmasked-1390832321. All rights are reserved.
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