JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been chafing under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It’s almost like the $25 billion injection the government gave JP Morgan has given him an actual rash, and the only thing that will relieve the burning and stinging and itching is if the government just takes back the money and lets him cleanse his house of the whole putrid affair. Until then, all he can do is scratch. Which is what he did earlier this week when he read aloud from a mock letter to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at a conference at NYU: “Dear Timmy, we are happy to be able to pay back the $25 billion you lent us,” he said. “We hope you enjoyed the experience as much as we did. Love, Jamie.” It’s not the first time Dimon has publicly taken a dig at the TARP and the other rules the administration has put on financial institutions.
• There was the time when, at the White House, he handed Geithner an Ed McMahon–style fake check for $25 billion. That was fun!
• So was the time he called the TARP “a scarlet letter” and “the TARP baby.”
• But jokes aside, he was salty about all of the “vilification” of bankers. “I would ask a lot of our folks in government to stop doing it because I think it’s hurting our country.”
• Participating in TARP “became a little more of a painful experience” than he’d expected initially, he told shareholders a couple of weeks ago, because some people in the federal government are slippery bastards. The program had kind of “‘morphed into something different’ since the bank first received the funds,” he said.
• Furthermore, the administration’s new rules against hiring foreigners are a “complete and utter disgrace.”
• Overall, “We learned our lesson” about borrowing from government, he said.
• And they’re about sick of the government’s shit. “We believe we’ve met all the terms to get out of TARP,” he said on a conference call Monday. “If we don’t get out of TARP, we’d be very surprised. We don’t think we should be surprised.”
Breaking Views is concerned: They suggest Dimon might want to zip his (full, pillowy-soft) lip lest he lose his favored status with the administration. We totally disagree; everyone knows that to get what you want you have to badger, and we think next time he has the opportunity Dimon should probably publicly headlock Tim Geithner and give him the noogie he so richly deserves. Do it for America, Jamie. Do it for the world.
Jamie Dimon’s Fighting Words [Breaking Views/CNN]