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Monday, May 15, 2017

JAMIE DIMON: There’s no such thing as a dead-end job

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Business Insider traveled on May 5 to speak with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon at the Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the South Bronx, New York. We talked about education, the economy, and the Trump administration. JPMorgan Chase announced a $6 million investment in the Bronx as part of its $75 million New Skills for Youth initiative. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Matt Turner: Coming out of school, getting a good job, what you’re describing, working your way up, buying a house, those are all parts of the American dream, and all of those things in different ways have gotten harder it seems. Is that American dream still available to as many people now as it has been in the past?

Jamie Dimon: I think if you look at what happened a little bit, we have the best country on the planet. And we have schools, and universities, and food, water, energy, peaceful neighbors, low corruption, you name it, best and widest, deepest capital markets.

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t identify problems. We don’t have a divine right to success. And, so, if you look at it, what were the problems? One is, middle-class wages haven’t gone up. One is, that low wages haven’t gone up enough to create a living wage. One is, people losing jobs, more from automation than anything else. 

But again, with a solution, it’s retraining, it’s relocation, it’s income assistance, it’s things that actually take place. So, we’re just trying to recognize those things — that we’ve left some people behind. And we haven’t done
a particularly good job fixing it. 
So my own view, this is not a political issue. It’s not a knee-jerk reaction from either side. It’s training, schools, getting growth going again. 

Detroit would be a great example, and if you look at Detroit,  that mayor — it’s been a train wreck for 40 years. The population has gone from over 2 million to 700,000. But this mayor comes in, and he talked about streetlights, sanitation, jobs, policing, schools, affordable housing. He’s doing it all, and it’s starting to grow for the first time in 30 years. Because of literally, one man. 

But that one man couldn’t have done it without business, and you’ve got wonderful people in Detroit, like Dan Gilbert, JPMorgan Chase. And business couldn’t have done it without the political environment where they wanted to improve things. If you had an anti-business environment there, it still would be going down. 

Turner: In terms of the lost generation, that can lead to frustration and you referred earlier to some of the anger upstairs towards the global elite. Can you just talk about how you see that aspect of it? 

Dimon: I kind of agree with it. When you leave people behind, and those people who are left behind, It’s not really their own fault in saying it was the leaders of institutions. So you’re always going to have an elite. You can have an elite in a communist society. But it is the leaders, something went wrong, and collectively, the leaders are responsible. 

And so — and there’s some other terrible numbers. Men, 25 to 55, labor-force participation is down 10%. That’s unbelievable. 35,000 die of opioids every year. 70% of kids, 17 to 24 can’t get into the US military because of health or education. Think of obesity, diabetes, reading and writing. Is that something — is that the society we wanted?

So, no, we should be working these things, acknowledge the flaws we have, and then come up with solutions. Not Democrat. Not Republican. Not knee-jerk. Solutions. 

And any job’s a good job. So, this whole concept of there’s dead-end jobs? Not true. I’ve heard it my whole life, dead-end jobs — but a lot of those burger-flippers end up owning and running restaurants. It’s the first rung. Jobs lead to dignity. If you’re good at the first, you can get the second. Jobs lead to household formation. Jobs are better solutions for society. And I think the other part we have, the expanded-income tax credit, which can help the lower paid, have more of a living wage, which will lead them to do more, and it’ll help small business. It won’t help bigger companies. But, we should be doing things like that.

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May 15, 2017 at 06:21PM

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from Justin Gmoser and Matt Turner

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