Weekly Standard: Dimon's Losses Are Paltry

Jun 20, 2012
Originally published on June 20, 2012 8:15 am

Daniel Halper is the online editor of The Weekly Standard.

The House Financial Committee just concluded grilling banker Jamie Dimon on risky financial bets his firm, JPMorgan Chase, made that resulted in losses of at least $2 billion last month. Today's hearing follows up on last week's Senate Banking Committee grilling of Dimon on the same bad bets.

But the irony here is rich: During the course of the two Dimon hearings held to discuss this bad bet, Congress borrowed nearly one billion dollars.

According to numbers provided by the Senate Budget Committee Republican staff, the debt per day is $3.6 billion, debt per hour is $150 million, and debt per minute is $2.5 million.

Today's House hearing, titled "Examining Bank Supervision and Risk Management in Light of JPMorgan Chase's Trading Loss," and featuring Dimon among others, lasted approximately 256 minutes, or 4 hours and 16 minutes. Which means that Congress borrowed about $640 million dollars—just as it grilled Dimon.

Last week's Senate Banking Committee hearing with Dimon, titled "A Breakdown in Risk Management: What Went Wrong at JPMorgan Chase," lasted about 131 minutes. The amount borrowed during that session, then, was approximately $327.5 million.

All told, in rough numbers, while Congress asked Dimon what went wrong with his firm's financial bets, America's debt grew by $967.5 million dollars.

The difference of course is obvious: Dimon lost his firm's and his investors' money, while Congress lost the public's money.

But it's unlikely Congress will hold a hearing called "A Breakdown in Risk Management: What Went Wrong with Congress" or "Examining Congressional Supervision and Risk Management in Light of Congress's Losses." And even these were held, who would grill the members of Congress and politicians responsible for the out of control debt?

Reporting on the conclusion of today's hearing, the Wall Street Journal says that "little new was revealed." As for JPMorgan? They're doing just fine: "J.P. Morgan shares are again up 2.7% to $35.54."

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