‘I don’t think I would be good at’ being president

In a time when CEOs and non-political figures seem to be exploring presidential bids, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC that he’s content with staying on the sidelines.

Referencing his earlier statement that he could beat President Donald Trump in an election, Dimon once again walked back the comment in a Monday interview with CNBC’s Jim Cramer.

“It was on my mind because people mentioned it, but it’s not what I want to do,” he said in a “Mad Money” interview. “I don’t think I would be good at it. I’m not a political person, per se.”

And besides, “I think it’s probably too soon for a banker” to run for president, the CEO said.

Instead, Dimon, who has run J.P. Morgan for over a decade, said he wanted to turn his focus to “policy that matters,” pointing to “serious policy issues” around infrastructure, taxation, regulation, education, neighborhood development, affordable housing, opioids and income inequality.

And while that sounds like far too much for Dimon or even J.P. Morgan to tackle alone, the CEO had a vision for how businesses should “step up” in the face of faltering policy.

“Remember, 85 percent of people work for business. If we don’t have the strongest economy on the planet, we won’t have the strongest military on the planet. If we don’t have the strongest economy, we won’t have jobs, wages, any of that or innovation,” Dimon told Cramer.

Once a strong economy is in place, the government needs to “set the highway sidelines” by implementing useful and effective policy, Dimon said. Still, problems like income inequality will need more innovative fixes, he said.

“I do think we need to work more on earned income tax credits, maybe a negative income tax to help lower-paid [people] have a living wage,” he said.

A negative income tax credit is a form of economic welfare in which people earning below a predetermined wage level receive an allowance from the government instead of paying taxes. It has never been fully implemented.

“Those are policy issues that eventually Washington will have to face,” Dimon continued. “That’s why you see all the populism today, too, because people are saying, ‘Well, it worked for the big companies, but it didn’t work for us.’ And there’s some truth to that. There’s segments that it didn’t work for and I think business working with government and civic society, because you need people on the ground, local not-for-profits, could fix these issues that government can’t alone do and business can’t alone do.”

And while Dimon was unwavering in his stance that he would not run for president, he seemed to back another high-profile figure considering a run: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Mike Bloomberg was mayor of a city for 12 years. He did a great job, he’s very smart, he’s very knowledgeable, he’d get the best and the brightest. He has to make his own evaluation whether it makes sense for him to do it,” Dimon said.

Bloomberg, a self-proclaimed Independent, remains involved in Washington politics. The former mayor, who has been encouraged by other corporate leaders to run for president, will reportedly spend $80 million to help Democrats win the House in the 2018 midterm elections.

“I think political skills are real and they develop it over time and, you know, I think good policy, good administration, logic, facts, analysis, cost-benefit stuff, that’s not Democrat or Republican,” Dimon said on Monday.

J.P. Morgan’s stock closed down 0.96 percent on Monday, at $116.72 a share.

Berkeley Lovelace
contributed to this report.

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