CEO of Largest US Bank Encourages Government to Seize Private Property to Advance Climate Initiatives
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon let his shareholders know that the government should seize private property — all in the name of climate change.
In an annual letter addressed to JPMorgan Chase shareholders on Tuesday, Dimon opened up by admitting that the largest bank in the country is not immune to the ills afflicting America.
“Across the globe, 2022 was another year of significant challenges: from a terrible war in Ukraine and growing geopolitical tensions — particularly with China — to a politically divided America,” Dimon said in his opening remarks. “Almost all nations felt the effects of global economic uncertainty, including higher energy and food prices, mounting inflation rates and volatile markets, and, of course, COVID-19’s lingering impacts.
“While all these experiences and associated turmoil have serious ramifications on our company, colleagues, clients and the countries in which we do business, their consequences on the world at large — with the extreme suffering of the Ukrainian people and the potential restructuring of the global order — are far more important.”
While largely true, the remarks that raised the most eyebrows came when Dimon brought up eminent domain under the section titled “Update on Specific Issues Facing Our Company,” under the “Climate Complexity and Planning” subsection.
Eminent domain is the legal doctrine that allows a government to effectively seize private property for public use.
The private property owner will then typically be reimbursed, though that typically falls well short of the value of owning the property itself.
“The window for action to avert the costliest impacts of global climate change is closing,” Dimon began.
“To expedite progress, governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations need to align across a series of practical policy changes that comprehensively address fundamental issues that are holding us back. Massive global investment in clean energy technologies must be done and must continue to grow year-over-year,” Dimon wrote.
The need to “align across a series of practical policy changes” includes private property seizure, he said.
“At the same time, permitting reforms are desperately needed to allow investment to be done in any kind of timely way,” Dimon continued. “We may even need to evoke eminent domain.”
While eminent domain seems like an extreme measure, Dimon justified it by claiming that “we simply are not getting the adequate investments fast enough for grid, solar, wind and pipeline initiatives.”
“Polarization, paralysis and basic lack of analysis cannot keep us from addressing one of the most complex challenges of our time,” Dimon said. “Diverse stakeholders need to come together, seeking the best answers through engagement around our common interest. Bolstering growth must go hand in hand with both securing an energy future and meeting science-based climate targets for future generations.”
As bad as things have gotten, Dimon also stressed that the current banking crisis is nothing like the one that crippled the country in 2008.
“As I write this letter, the current crisis is not yet over, and even when it is behind us, there will be repercussions from it for years to come. But importantly, recent events are nothing like what occurred during the 2008 global financial crisis (which barely affected regional banks),” he wrote.
“In 2008, the trigger was a growing recognition that $1 trillion of consumer mortgages were about to go bad — and they were owned by various types of entities around the world. At that time, there was enormous leverage virtually everywhere in the financial system. Major investment banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, nearly all savings and loan institutions, off-balance sheet vehicles, AIG and banks around the world — all of them failed. This current banking crisis involves far fewer financial players and fewer issues that need to be resolved.”
Toward the end of the lengthy letter, however, Dimon takes a stab at general government incompetence — casting into doubt why he would suggest eminent domain in the first place.
“Like most Americans, I get frustrated with the mediocrity and bureaucracy of the massive administrative state. We accept it too readily,” Dimon said. “And it damages the confidence we have in our own country. I have enormous respect for the people who work for the U.S. government, but we simply don’t invest enough in making it more effective.”
“And it damages the confidence we have in our own country.”
For many Americans, however, it’s hard to imagine anything more damaging to a citizen’s confidence in his country than government officials showing up to take over his plot of land.
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