Jamie Dimon: the wealth gap is a huge problem

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan ChaseJamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase

The wealth gap in the US is “a huge problem,” says Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of investment bank JPMorgan Chase. Dimon, who made $31m last year and has been singled out for criticism by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, told Lesley Stahl in an interview for CBS News: “The wealthy have been getting wealthier… middle class incomes have been kind of flat for maybe 15 years or so and that’s not particularly good in America.” One big issue, he argues, is that “we haven’t done a good job growing our economy. That would’ve fixed a lot of that problem.”

That said, he’s not as concerned about recession as some are. “The consumer, which is 70% of the US economy, is quite strong. Confidence is very high. Their balance sheets are in great shape.” Concerns about political turbulence are overdone too, he notes. “If you look at history and you take a newspaper and open it in any month, or any year, you’d have the same list of hugely unpredictable things… Human nature looks at fear and reacts to the short run, but there have been 50 or 60 international crises since World War II.” Of all of those, he says, only the oil crisis of the 1970s impacted the global economy in the short term.

In all, “this is the most prosperous economy the world has ever seen and it is going to be a very prosperous economy for the next 100 years.” As for the wealth gap, he is in favour of the idea of raising the minimum wage, but not capping executive pay. “The problems are real. It does not mean free enterprise is bad.”