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.
Jamie Dimon: So the Trump agenda, the economic agenda, about corporate tax reform, infrastructure, regulatory reform, is the right agenda for growth. Corporate taxes have been driving capital, and brains, and companies overseas for a decade.
It’s caused huge damage in investment, in jobs, in productivity — and it was a mistake. We have to fix it. And counterintuitive, that usually helps middle class wages, and lower wages, and job formation.
The second is regulatory. You talk to anyone involved in business — and forget banks and big companies — talk to small companies. Just do it yourself, don’t ask me. Because, you know — but they’ll tell you, it’s crippling to them about their formation — Small business formation is the lowest it’s ever been in a major recovery in America.
And it’s really for two reasons. One is regulations, and the second is access to capital for people starting new businesses, and those are both related to regulation a little bit, and then infrastructure. I mean, I don’t know, you might be shocked to find out — we haven’t built a major airport in 20 years. China built 75 in the last 10 years. It takes 10 years to get all the permits to build a bridge today. 10 years? What happened to the good-old can-do America? Get it done, work together — we’ve become this bureaucratic, stifling environment, and I’m not talking about violating environmental things, I’m talking about building a bridge, getting things going, getting people to work together. Even some of my friends noticed there was a bridge in Cambridge that was being built across the Charles River, and it was a teeny little bridge. It took six years. Don’t tell me that’s not corruption. I don’t care how you meant — that’s corruption. There’s something wrong with that.
Matt Turner: And are you confident that some of those regulations, what you described, are going to be addressed? And that we’re gonna start with this administration fixing some of these issues?
Dimon: Look, look, I think the first thing you do is acknowledge where some of the problems are. I think they’ve got real professionals on the ground, deeply respected, both in the national security, state-side, and the economic side.
And they’re just staffing-up, so let them go at it. Remember, it won’t be up to them. They have to work it out with Congress, and Democrats, Republicans, but I think a lot of these things are good for all of America. Let’s get — we should all get the Congress, whether you’re Democrat or Republican, and say, “Let’s get those things done.” Those are good for all of America. A lot of these things have hurt average Americans. So, when they look at a bank and they say, “Well, the bank’s just speaking their own game.” I am telling you, and I gave an example in my chairman’s letter about mortgages alone — what we’ve done in mortgage lending, our inability to have proper regulations around mortgages, have hurt average Americans. The people — first-time buyers, immigrant buyers, prior defaults, self-employed — because they can’t get a mortgage.
It’s not because — and again, will it make a big difference to JPMorgan Chase? No, but you’re hurting my fellow citizens. Let’s go out and say, “Is that true?” “If it’s true, let’s fix it.” And it is true. And anyone who looks at it would know it’s true. Anyone who’s been in the business knows it’s true.
Turner: Do you feel, with the pro-business administration, that you andother CEOs have more of a voice now to get these things changed?
Dimon: Yeah, I think the administration is talking to everybody. And so they’re talking to CEOs, but they’re talking to unions, I’ve been told that the president has Democrats, Republicans over for lunch, and dinner, and Air Force One — as the head of the BRT, the CEO, who’s Josh Bolten, who we recently hired, and I recently met with a whole bunch of unions about what we could do that’s better for everybody. It was a great meeting.
We’re gonna continue — we’re gonna try and get people working together to fix these problems. It takes collaboration. It’s not gonna work if we all hate each other.