On Capitol Hill: A Clueless Big-Bank Top Executive

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

As CEO of banking giant JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon has ultimate budget responsibility for a mega-billion-dollar enterprise. But last week, testifying before Congress, Dimon declined to take any responsibility for — or show much interest in — the budget challenges JPMorgan workers face. Rep. Katie Porter of California asked Dimon what advice he’d give an entry-level JPMorgan employee with a child who lives in a one-bedroom in her district that rents for a monthly $1,600. After food, child care, and other basic expenses, the $2,425 the worker takes home monthly from JPMorgan leaves her $567 in the red. Dimon at first quipped that the entry-level worker just “may have my job one day.” Maybe, replied Porter, but right now she’s doesn’t have “your $31 million” to spend. Porter went on to press for a helpful budgeting suggestion. Replied Dimon: “I don’t know. I’d have to think about that.”

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Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Last year, he played an active role on the team that generated The Nation magazine special issue on extreme inequality. That issue recently won the 2009 Hillman Prize for magazine journalism. Pizzigati’s latest book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press, 2004), won an “outstanding title” of the year ranking from the American Library Association’s Choice book review journal.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

An Invitation to Sunny Miami. What Could Be Bad?

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

If a billionaire “invites” you somewhere, you’d better go. Or be prepared to suffer the consequences. This past May, hedge fund kingpin Carl Icahn announced in a letter to his New York-based staff of about 50 that he would be moving his business operations to Florida. But the 83-year-old Icahn assured his staffers they had no reason to worry: “My employees have always been very important to the company, so I’d like to invite you all to join me in Miami.” Those who go south, his letter added, would get a $50,000 relocation benefit “once you have established your permanent residence in Florida.” Those who stay put, the letter continued, can file for state unemployment benefits, a $450 weekly maximum that “you can receive for a total of 26 weeks.” What about severance from Icahn Enterprises? The New York Post reported last week that the two dozen employees who have chosen not to uproot their families and follow Icahn to Florida “will be let go without any severance” when the billionaire shutters his New York offices this coming March. Bloomberg currently puts Carl Icahn’s net worth at $20.5 billion.

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Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon

Health Care Should Not Be A Bargaining Weapon