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JPMorgan's Dimon laments income inequality, won't assail CEO pay

Christopher Condon, Bloomberg News on

Published in Business News

WASHINGTON -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called U.S. income inequality a "huge problem," but he stopped short of saying America's top executives were being paid too much.

In an interview that aired Sunday on CBS's "60 Minutes," Dimon said he is optimistic about the economy and admitted that his high-profile job made him a target of some criticism. But asked whether his compensation -- about $31 million in total for 2018 -- was too high, he said: "The board sets mine. I have nothing to do with it," referring to the bank's directors.

In the wide-ranging interview with CBS correspondent Leslie Stahl, Dimon agreed that income inequality was damaging to the country, especially for those whose earnings have stagnated as CEO pay has skyrocketed.

"I think the wealthy have been getting wealthier too much, in many ways," he said, according to a network transcript. "So middle-class incomes have been kinda flat for maybe 15 years or so, and that's not particularly good in America."

A recent Bloomberg analysis of Federal Reserve data showed the top 1% of American households now hold almost as much wealth as the middle- and upper-middle classes combined.

Pressed by Stahl, who suggested he could return some of his own pay as an example to other executives, Dimon said, "I could. Is that gonna to solve any of those problems?"

 

The segment portrayed Dimon as the epitome of Wall Street, a person who rose through the ranks and survived the 2008 financial crisis, whose advice and counsel now is sought by world leaders.

Dimon was upbeat on the U.S. economy despite the slowing pace of growth in 2019, and he downplayed the probability of a recession.

"The consumer, which is 70% of the U.S. economy, is quite strong," he said. "You see that the strength of the American consumer is driving the American economy and the global economy. And while business slowed down, my current view is that, no, it just was a slowdown, not a petering out."

Expansion Slowed

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