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The Jamie Dimon manifesto

Juliana Kaplan   

The Jamie Dimon manifesto
  • The 2023 shareholder letter from JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is chock-full of policy ideas.
  • Dimon says the US needs to strengthen its role in the global economy and address domestic unrest.

A robust new policy platform just dropped — and it's not from either leading presidential candidate.

Jamie Dimon, the billionaire CEO of JPMorgan Chase, outlines some of the biggest issues facing the company, the country, and the world in his 2023 annual shareholder letter.

Dimon's manifesto touches on everything from AI to geopolitics and includes an emotional appeal for the US to use its power to bring the West together in a time of global turbulence. Though Dimon's annual letters usually address policy, this year's is much more extensive than usual, an intriguing turn from the well-known CEO of the country's largest bank who's eyed a future in politics.

For now, Dimon has presented a suite of policy proposals on a range of issues, from bolstering the US's international influence to improving the lives of low-income people. The letter affirms Dimon's views on American exceptionalism and presents ways that policy needs to evolve to drive that vision.

Strength on the world stage, starting with aid for Ukraine

A major theme in Dimon's letter is the importance of global peace in furthering America's ambitions and the belief that the US should use its power and influence to ensure stability.

He points to American leadership as crucial in resolving the war in Ukraine.

"Ukraine's struggle is our struggle," he writes.

While a significant number of Republicans in Congress oppose more aid to Ukraine, Dimon says that Ukraine requires the US's help "immediately" and that aid to Ukraine will flow back into the American economy since many of the weapons and equipment used in the war are made in the US.

The letter emphasizes that the West needs to project "unquestioned military might." He writes that "the specter of nuclear weapons — probably still the greatest threat to mankind — hovers as the ultimate decider, which should strike deep fear in all our hearts."

But the CEO says that the US needs to flex its other muscles of power — economic policy, diplomacy, and intelligence — beyond military strength, and leaders need to explain why it's so important for the US to remain a major player on the world stage.

Rethinking global trade alliances

Dimon says that as the US reimagines its military alliances and strategies, it must do the same when it comes to economic policy. While the West may have overlooked China at its own peril, it's time to "just fix it," which means engaging "thoughtfully" with China — without fear.

"Done properly, such a strategy would help strengthen, coalesce and possibly be the glue that holds together Western democratic alliances over decades," Dimon writes.

He also believes that the US should reenter the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which former President Donald Trump pulled out of early into his tenure in order to instead focus on one-on-one trade policies.

Dimon writes that policy measures are necessary to bolster industries that are important for national security, such as the semiconductor and rare-earth-minerals sectors, but the government's role should generally be more limited. For example, he says the government should set specific rules on tax policy but take a smaller role in setting broad social policies.

Any industrial policy should have what he calls "twin provisions": limitations on political interference, such as mandating social policy, and a reduced government role in permitting requirements.

More broadly, Dimon says the country needs to rethink international economic rules and structure. He envisions a potentially "reimagined" Bretton Woods — the agreement that originally created the International Monetary Fund.

'The fraying of the American dream'

Dimon identifies two key issues driving domestic unrest — the heated debate around immigration and border security and "the fraying of the American dream."

He believes that Congress should take stronger action on border control and push for policies to drive economic growth. He believes that citizens losing trust in the government is "damaging to society," and the government needs to take decisive action to improve economic conditions for low-income and rural Americans and those who feel "left behind."

"And to be fair, business could use its influence to do less to further its own interest and more to enhance the nation as a whole," he said.

Dimon points to the growth in wage inequality, saying that "wrong" policy decisions have failed lower-earning Americans. Dimon said that all jobs — even "starter jobs" — should be viewed with respect.

He points to two ways to help improve economic equality. First, he believes that educational institutions, including high schools and community colleges, should be "judged on the quality and income level" of the jobs graduates (or nongraduates) get. He also says that workers need job-skills training to fill roles that are available in the tech industry.

"We already spend a tremendous amount of money on education — just not the right way," Dimon writes.

Dimon also believes Congress should expand the earned income tax credit, which provides a tax break to moderate- and low-income families.

In Dimon's vision, that credit would be available to all lower-income workers — without proration for those without children — and turned into a "negative income payroll tax, paid monthly," which could be in the form of monthly checks or a paycheck boost.

Dimon previously said that taxes on the wealthy could help offset the costs of expanding the EITC.

Dimon says that while the US faces "complex and difficult tasks ahead," he believes the country will be able to rise to meet those challenges.

"I remain with a deep and abiding faith in the strength of the enduring values of America," he writes.