JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon has admitted there is a “huge problem” with the wealth gap in the US, wading into the debate over income inequality after facing heat from Democratic frontrunner Elizabeth Warren.
The Wall Street titan told CBS that “the wealthy have been getting wealthier too much in many ways”, but he remained tight-lipped when being pressed on his own $31m pay package last year.
When asked about his compensation, Dimon said: “The board sets mine. I have nothing to do with it,” referring to the bank’s directors.
Dimon’s remarks about inequality come on the back of recent criticism from presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who has been leading the charge against the uber-rich over their tax contributions.
Warren recently tweeted that “Jamie Dimon and his buddies are successful in part because of the opportunities, workforce, and public services that we all paid for. It’s only fair that he and his billionaire friends chip in to make sure everyone else has a chance to succeed.”
However, Dimon has doubled down on his defence of billionaires, saying: “You know, most people are good, not all of them. You should vilify Nazis, but you shouldn’t vilify people who worked hard to accomplish things.”
The tit-for-tat remarks underline the strained relations between a handful of major financial figures and progressive Democratic candidates who have been criticising billionaires as part of their presidential campaigns.
The JP Morgan chief, who is the only boss of a major Wall Street firm whose tenure predates the 2008 financial crash, also said during the interview that bankers “let the American people down” in the run-up to the financial crash.
Dimon hit out at “greedy” and “selfish” bankers who he said have overpaid themselves since the crisis.