- Jamie Dimon said the US must address policy problems to ensure economic growth.
- The JPMorgan CEO said healthcare and education help ensure the US dollar remains strong.
- Former president Donald Trump fell short on his promise to increase annual GDP growth to 3%.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon called for expanded healthcare and education access in his annual letter to shareholders Wednesday, challenging policymakers to overcome seven major hurdles holding back American prosperity.
Specifically, Dimon said the US government and businesses must work to improve issues ranging from income inequality, economic opportunity and education gaps, healthcare for all, better infrastructure, more affordable housing and increased disaster preparedness to ensure economic growth.
In the letter, Dimon said JPMorgan, the US’ largest bank by assets, had donated funds to improve access to education and healthcare as part of its $200 billion grant for environmental and economic development deals.
“My fervent hope is that America will roll up its sleeves and bring bold leadership to our self-inflicted problems,” Dimon said. “We can be unabashed about the exceptionalism of America while acknowledging that we have problems.”
A lack of affordable and accessible healthcare and education has resulted in 70% of young people being ineligible for military service due to poor reading skills and obesity, Dimon said. The power of the military helps keep the US dollar the strongest in the world, he continued.
Medical expenses will also push the country into further debt over the next two decades, Dimon said, unless the economy grows at a faster pace.
Dimon said the US economy has grown just 18% over the last 10 years, compared to 40% growth in the decade following economic downturns in 1982 and 1990. Had there been more growth, Dimon said, wages would have been higher and the US could have afforded “better social safety nets.”
The growth of the country’s gross domestic product — or the country’s economic output — grew at a slower rate under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump compared other recent presidents, though jobs and household income rebounded after the 2008 recession. Trump fell short on his promise to increase annual GDP growth to 3%.
Americans have also experienced stagnant wages for the better part of the the last decade, in part due to the declined power of labor unions and a minimum wage stuck at $7.25 for more than a decade. Income inequality has gotten worse during the pandemic: billionaires made $3.9 trillion as the country as the unemployment rate remains at 6%.
Though Dimon said US income inequality was the “higher than the rest of the world” and one of the country’s largest challenges, he himself took home $31.5 million in 2020.
With regard to other policy challenges, Dimon said he has “little doubt” President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure bill will lead to an economic boom, and has committed part of his $30 billion racial equity pledge to help make housing affordable for Black and Latino people.
“Fixing America’s problems is going to take hard work,” Dimon wrote. “But if we divide them into their component parts, we will find many viable solutions. With thoughtful analysis, commonsense and pragmatism, there is hope.”