JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is out with his annual shareholder letter, and, as usual, it is an interesting read. The section focused on broad public policy issues, while broadly optimistic, raised these concerns:
Something is holding back the strong recovery of the great American economic engine. It is not lack of access to capital or loans, but it might be a combination of some of the following factors:
• Concerns around excessive regulation and red tape – I travel around the U.S. all the time, and this is a loud and growing complaint that I hear from businesses, small to large, across virtually all industries.
• Whether you were for or against "Obamacare," when massive changes to such an important part of the American economy are made, it does create uncertainty for many businesses.
• The inability to face our fiscal reality is a concern. I believe that if we had adopted some form of the Simpson-Bowles plan to fix the debt, it would have been extremely beneficial to the economy.
• Entitlement spending – which now is 60% of federal spending and is growing – is crowding out infrastructure spending and spending on initiatives like research and development and training.
• In addition, uncertainty about the ultimate outcome of the Fed's unconventional QE policy (and our inability to deal with some fiscal issues) makes future Fed policy more complicated.
• Political gridlock resulting not only in our government shutdown but in two debt ceiling crises was damaging and irresponsible.
• U.S. corporate tax policy is hugely inefficient and, at the margin, drives American capital overseas.
• U.S. immigration policy (which we should fix for moral reasons alone) also is driving brains and entrepreneurs overseas. Most economists think a good immigration policy could accelerate U.S. economic growth by 0.2% right away and by 2% over a 10-year period. This, alone, could create 3 million jobs.