Jamie Dimon J.P. Morgan Chase Annual Letter

April 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

The CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, is out with his 2018 annual letter covering the company's performance in 2017. I find this letter to be an interesting read pretty much every year. Some passages follow that I thought were particularly worth highlighting.

Mr. Dimon is fairly positive about some developments from the Trump administration and the Republican Congress, and the effects they will have on the American economy:

The United States in particular may be strengthening as we speak. The competitive tax system, a more constructive regulatory environment, and very high consumer and business confidence are increasing indications that the economy will likely expand.

He says that the American economy has fallen short of its growth potential.

our economic growth has been anemic. Our economy has grown approximately 20% in the last eight years, but this stands in contrast with prior average recoveries where growth would have been more than 40% over an eight-year period.

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Bharara Asks Bezos To Silence Trump

April 3, 2018 at 10:54 am

Preet Bharara, the aide to Senator Schumer-turned federal prosecutor whose insider trading and public corruption cases were frequently rejected or reversed by higher courts, is calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to silence President Trump.

In a tweet that went viral (garnering more than 20,000 retweets and more than 85,000 likes, at this writing), Mr. Bharara wrote, "What if Jeff Bezos bought Twitter with the change in his pocket and shut Trump's account?"

The reference was to the escalating feud between Mr. Bezos, who owns the sharply anti-Trump Washington Post, and Mr. Trump, whose recent tweets critical of Amazon have sent the company's stock price plunging. Careful readers of FutureOfCapitalism may have seen that fight coming; we wrote on March 15:

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Apple Wants Washington To Fix Facebook

April 3, 2018 at 7:04 am

Apple CEO Tim Cook's call for increased regulation of Facebook is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Reason (here), the New York Sun (here), and Newsmax (here).

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Will Zuckerberg Buy a Newspaper?

March 28, 2018 at 10:20 am

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg will handle the flap over Cambridge Analytica's use of Facebook customer data in the presidential campaign is the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at the New York Sun (here) and Newsmax (here).

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Harvard Joins the Resistance

March 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Hillary Clinton will appear at Harvard during Commencement week to receive the Radcliffe medal, while Congressman John Lewis, Democrat of Georgia, will give the university's Commencement Address and receive an honorary degree, the university has announced.

Harvard is a big and decentralized enough institution that it's certainly possible that the Clinton and Lewis decisions were made independently. And there are excellent nonpartisan reasons to honor each one of them. Clinton achieved something historic as the first woman to win a major party U.S. presidential nomination, and in her career she has demonstrated exemplary resilience. Lewis displayed heroic personal courage for a just and righteous cause in the Civil Rights movement.

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How Sickness Leads to Bankruptcy

March 22, 2018 at 1:27 pm

A new economic research paper about the financial consequences of illness is the topic of a news article in the New York Times.

The research is interesting, but so is the news article, for the way it makes assumptions about what is or isn't possible. Here's one passage that caught my eye:

To the authors, the lesson of the paper is that standard health insurance isn't enough — policymakers need to think about ways to better protect people against the income risks that accompany illness. In Denmark, for example, similar reductions in income have been found after hospitalizations, but government programs help replace some of the losses, lessening people's financial burden. Such programs, to expand wage insurance, sick leave or disability insurance, would require new resources from the government or employers. [Emphasis added.]

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Pete Peterson

March 21, 2018 at 10:18 am

Peter G. Peterson's obituary didn't make the front page, not even the front-page "refer box" of capsule summaries in my edition of the print New York Times this morning, which may say more about the editorial judgment of the contemporary New York Times than it does about Peterson's life. His book "The Education of an American Dreamer" was reviewed here at FutureOfCapitalism back in June 2009 and may be of interest again in light of his death.

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Science Magazine Tackles 'Fake News'

March 20, 2018 at 5:31 am

"Fake News" — and what to do about it — is the topic of both an academic article in a recent issue of Science magazine and my latest column. Does the New York Times coverage of Larry Kudlow qualify as "fake"? Please check the column out at Reason (here), the New York Sun (here), and Newsmax (here).

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NYT Deems Trump Less Horrible Than Was Feared

March 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Don't just take it from me: take it from New York Times Magazine contributing writer Jason Zengerle, writing in the New York Times Sunday book review section: "In the realm of policy, what the Trump administration is doing to America, so far at least, is not as horrible as you feared."

That's a low bar, given how horrible the fears were that were voiced immediately after the election. And it also makes certain assumptions about the Times readership — the "you," in the sentence — presuming that they feared Trump rather than hopefully anticipated his policy changes. Even so, give the Times credit for acknowledging what a lot of its readers (to judge by the "worse than I feared" online comments on the review) can't get themselves to accept.

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Kudlow and Kennedy

March 15, 2018 at 3:34 pm

In light of President Trump's excellent decision to select my fellow New York Sun columnist Larry Kudlow as chairman of the National Economic Council, here's a link to the column I wrote about the book by Kudlow and Brian Domitrovic, JFK and the Reagan Revolution: A Secret History of American Prosperity.

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Trump's Stars

March 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens writes about President Trump's choice of Mike Pompeo for secretary of State: "he'd be smart to model his behavior on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, the administration's one undisputed star." As Stephens' Times predecessor William Safire pointed out posthumously on Twitter, Mick Mulvaney and Scott Gottlieb are stars, too.

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Bezos, Mueller, and Trump

March 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Lee Smith writes at Tablet:

The press also has an interest in prolonging the Mueller probe. Russiagate is good for business, mesmerizing viewers with a grand political spectacle featuring one of the media's biggest draws for the last several decades—Donald Trump, the boss villain who is now in the White House. Maybe most prominent among the interested media organizations is the paper that has colluded with lawbreakers in publishing the names of US persons whose identities have been illegally leaked by intelligence officials and political operatives—the Washington Post.

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Leonhardt on Sugar

March 13, 2018 at 7:02 am

David Leonhardt has a New York Times op-ed column about how to eat less added sugar. He writes:

Virtually the only way to eat a healthy amount of sugar is to make a conscious effort. You can think of it as a political act: resisting the sugar industry's attempts to profit off your body. Or you can simply think of it as taking care of yourself.

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How Scott Adams Got the Trump-North Korea Story Right

March 13, 2018 at 6:22 am

"Dilbert" cartoonist Scott Adams has so far turned out to be a more accurate analyst of President Trump's handling of North Korea than many elite commentators whose hatred of Trump blinded them to the possibilities. That's the topic of my column this week. Please check out the full column at Newsmax (here) and the New York Sun (here).

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Amazon Bank Postscript

March 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm

A quick follow-up to the post here earlier this week on "Amazon Bank": The New York Times reports:

There are a number of reasons that low-income consumers have been less avid online shoppers, including the fact that many do not have credit cards....Amazon has tried to address some of these obstacles. Amazon Cash, for example, allows people to add money to their Amazon accounts by taking cash to CVS pharmacies, GameStops and other retail locations.

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