The head mucky muck at J.P. Morgan Chase bank, Jamie Dimon, said on Meet the Press that his team was “sloppy”, “stupid”, and “used bad judgement” in incurring what may yet become a $4 billion loss for the investors and stockholders in the firm he heads up.
While many are saying this is all the proof for tighter regulations on the too big to fail banks of Wall Street, Mitt Romney just writes it off as a normal part of free enterprise. He argues that since no tax payer money was at risk the government shouldn’t be considering tighter regulations. The leaders of these companies should be left in charge and be free to practice free market economics with all the inherent risks.
I’m left asking myself if this could be just one more instance where Mitt Romney just can’t relate. He made his money, and continues to earn the bulk of his income, from investments. His fortune is large enough that he really doesn’t have to worry too much where his next dividend check, or meal, is coming from. But, the typical investor in institutions such as J.P. Morgan Chase aren’t the Mitt Romney’s of the nation. They are the average Joes who have pension funds who make and manage their investments. If J.P. Morgan Chase screws off $4 billion it may not be taxpayers money lost but it is the money of enough Americans who can’t absorb the hit. A lot of people get hurt in ways they may never bounce back from.
Furthermore, if these are the companies that are too big to fail, the government isn’t going to be permitted to sit back and do nothing if these companies continue to play these mega risk games with their investor’s money. The damned economy has already imploded because of their actions and it seems little has been learned from it. It seems greed cannot be tamed by experience. Those who thought they were infallible in 2008 still thing the same in 2012.
Meanwhile, Romney just goes on defending an unfettered and corrupt system and accepting huge contributions from those who are the major benefactors and players in this high stakes game of Russian roulette. It isn’t what is best for the average American in the long-run. Instead it seems to only be about what policies and positions can best serve him and his goal of living in the White House.
The Obama campaign caught flak when it recently released an advertisement attacking Romney’s role in Bain Capital. While it is true that Bain Capital, under Romney’s direction, made him and his partners multimillionaires and created very successful companies it is just as true that not all that money was made creating jobs. Not everything can or should be judged by percent of profit. There are incidences where Bain Capital bought companies in which the most profit could be realized not by saving them, but by raping them of whatever assets existed and leaving them straddled with huge debt and out of business. This is what Romney’s opponents so clearly made issue of during the GOP primary campaign. It was not a democrat who coined the term “vulture capitalism,” it was conservative Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry of Texas.
Look, I am a capitalist, I believe in a free but not unfettered system of free enterprise. The kind of capitalism I can easily and willingly get behind is one that is responsible and doesn’t put profit before so many other things of equal or greater importance. I think in many cases Bain Capital could have bought a weakened company, and restored it to profit while protecting worker’s jobs. The percentage of profit may not have been as great but a basic social and community obligation could have been met; the maintenance of employment and all that results from it. If they actively shut the doors to one steel company because the margin wasn’t great enough, they weren’t practicing what I see as a responsible and acceptable form of capitalism. In these incidences I could certainly agree with Texas governor Rick Perry that Romney and friends are vulture capitalists.