JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon said that leaders should be declaring a national emergency and addressing the items holding back the US economy seriously.
Following the release of his annual shareholder letter, Dimon explained in a town-hall event with Yahoo Finance’s editor-in-chief Andy Serwer that these issues need to be addressed now.
“I blame ourselves,” he said. “And I’m very sympathetic to people who are mad at the leadership of this country because we are kind of to blame. Who else is there to blame?”
Dimon went on to say that leaders in our system need to stand up and call out the problems.
“I have yet to see people in the education system stand on a stage like this and say ‘we have a national emergency. We should treat it like we treat World War II, like we treated small pox,'” Dimon said.
Instead, politics is blamed, he said.
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot. We’re to blame,” Dimon said. “It’s not a mythical thing…It’s not the world changing forever.”
Dimon said, though, he remains optimistic.
“America has an amazingly resilient political system,” he said. “It’s the longest democracy on the planet today. It’s been through far worse than today…It will find it’s way.”
He argued that components of President Trump’s platform—from corporate taxes to infrastructure, education and regulation—are on the right track and will help the average American.
He added that this will help combat the current reality.
“We are creating generations of citizens who will never have a chance in this land of dreams and opportunity,” Dimon said.
“Our problems are significant, and they are not the singular purview of either political party,” Dimon wrote. “We need coherent, consistent, comprehensive and coordinated policies that help fix these problems.”
Dimon explained we have some of the top universities—not to mention resources, military, a strong financial system. But the US economy has been growing much more slowly in the last decade or two than in the 50 years before that (real per capita GDP grew 1% from 2000 to 2016 versus 2.3% from 1948 to 2000). Meanwhile, real median household incomes in 2015 were 2.5% lower than in 1999 and the percentage of middle-class households has shrunk from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2015.
Nicole Sinclair is markets correspondent for Yahoo Finance.
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