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J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon got himself some positive ink Thursday for his annual letter to shareholders, in which he said capitalism is really good for everyone, and socialism is just the worst, UGH, but he also took the time to note that for a lot of people, for some reason, the American Dream, just isn't all that dreamy, and isn't that sad?

In a section called "The American Dream is alive -- but fraying for many," Dimon starts off with a reminder that this is "still the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen" because we're just so good at being the best, beacon of hope, dynamic economy, blahblahblah, but then also, some things just make him :(

Middle class incomes have been stagnant for years. Income inequality has gotten worse. Forty percent of American workers earn less than $15 an hour, and about 5% of full-time American workers earn the minimum wage or less, which is certainly not a living wage. In addition, 40% of Americans don't have $400 to deal with unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs. More than 28 million Americans don't have medical insurance at all. And, surprisingly, 25% of those eligible for various types of federal assistance programs don't get any help. No one can claim that the promise of equal opportunity is being offered to all Americans through our education systems, nor are those who have run afoul of our justice system getting the second chance that many of them deserve. And we have been debating immigration reform for 30 years. Simply put, the social needs of far too many of our citizens are not being met.

Gee ... that sounds like maybe a billionaire who wants to be president? Or maybe not, according to a CNBC story -- also Thursday -- saying he ultimately decided against running. Probably just as well, seeing as how Dimon wasn't sure which party's nomination he should seek if he did decide to run. Instead, Dimon "begrudgingly decided that he would continue to serve his country from his current positions."

Oh, barf. But fine, Mister Oh The Banks Are Being Beat Up On So Bad. We would far rather have you showing some mild interest in economic justice in your annual letter than fulminating about how you are oppressed by big government. Just don't run for anything.

Still, some people in media who should know better seemed far more impressed than they needed to be, like MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle:

Thankfully, Elizabeth Warren came along and put "Jamie Dimon the Populist" in some perspective:


Oh, well yes, that might be among the reasons for that bit of wealth inequality Dimon seems so concerned about.

Warren and Dimon have a history when it comes to these matters; back in 2015, Dimon, while fretting about the terrible burdens of regulation on big banks, said he was very concerned about whether Warren even knew anything about high finance: "I don't know if she fully understands the global banking system," he said, followed by a generous offer to meet with her any time she wants, so he can explain it to her, presumably in small words that she can grasp. Heavens, she was only a US Senator who, at Harvard, had focused on credit law and bankruptcy, and then gone on to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So really, what did she even know? As it happens, Warren had already addressed such important concerns in a speech given a couple months before Dimon offered to be her Special Assistant for Mansplaining:

The finance guys argue that if you're never in the club, you can't understand it. But I think they have it backwards. Not being in the club means not drinking the Kool-Aid. Yeah, most of the finance guys were smart. But no smarter than a lot of other people I knew -- men and women -- who did a lot of other kinds of work. ...

The problem was never that I didn't understand what the finance guys were doing. The problem was that I understood exactly what the finance guys were doing. I knew it, and they knew it.

And then there was the time shortly after she became a senator, when Warren and Dimon had a heated chat about financial regulation and she let him know the CFPB might well rein in some of the big banks' excesses (2013 was a heady time, no?).

Warren said Dimon "leaned back and slowly smiled," and then replied, "So hit me with a fine. We can afford it."

You can see why Warren might not be too convinced of Mr. Dimon's newly discovered wokeness, is what we're saying. Hey, you know what? We've got a t-shirt (or if you'd prefer, a mug!) for Jamie Dimon -- or YOU!

[JP Morgan Chase annual report / CNBC / CNBC / Elizabeth Warren on Twitter]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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