Are JPMorgan’s Losses A Canary in a Coal Mine?

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/17

by Bill Moyers and Simon Johnson
Published on Thursday, May 17, 2012 by Common Dreams

That sound of shattered glass you’ve been hearing is the iconic portrait of Jamie Dimon splintering as it hits the floor of JPMorgan Chase. As the Good Book says, “Pride goeth before a fall,” and the sleek silver-haired, too-smart-for-his-own-good CEO of America’s largest bank has been turning every television show within reach into a confessional booth. Barack Obama’s favorite banker faces losses of $2 billion and possibly more – all because of the complex, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t trading in exotic financial instruments that he has so ardently lobbied Congress not to regulate.

Once again, doing God’s work — that is, betting huge sums of money with depositor funds knowing that you are too big to fail and can count on taxpayers riding to your rescue if your avarice threatens to take the country down — has lost some of its luster. The jewels in Dimon’s crown sparkle with a little less grandiosity than a few days ago, when he ridiculed Paul Volcker’s ideas for keeping Wall Street honest as “infantile.”

To find out more about what this all means, I turned to Simon Johnson, once chief economist of the International Monetary Fund and now a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. He and his colleague James Kwak founded the now-indispensable website baselinescenario.com. They co-authored the bestselling book 13 Bankers and the most recent book, White House Burning, an account every citizen should read to understand how the national deficit affects our future.

Bill Moyers: If Chase began to collapse because of risky betting, would the government be forced to step in again?

Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/17

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