It's no secret that Wall Street isn't too happy with the Obama administration's method of dealing with the financial crisis. Bankers have complained not only about the lack of details in the administration's new rescue plans, but also about the prevailing negativity they've picked up in the tone of messages coming out of Washington. Yesterday, JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon took matters into his own hands , attempting to boost morale in the industry.
In his speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Dimon read from the text of a note that he said he sent to former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and suggested he'd send the same to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. His quote was a Teddy Roosevelt gem, designed to give some measure of solace not just to Paulson and Bernanke, but everyone toiling in the beleaguered industry. It seems Dimon was trying to fill the vacuum of inspirational leadership.
"It is not the critic who counts," he wrote, "nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man or woman who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dirt and sweat and blood, who knows the great enthusiasm, who spend himself in a worthy cause, who at best in the end knows the triumph of great achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails at least fails daring greatly, so that his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Dimon thus assumed the heavy mantle of the general commanding his troops to soldier on toward brighter times. He concurred with financier Warren Buffet, who takes the position that we're in an economic war.
With his closing volley, Dimon took his shots at Washington, calling on the President to lead, and members of Congress to stay their partisan bickering and follow.
"There is a silver bullet," he said. "There's plenty of blame to go around, when the war is over we should go ahead and do that. But we need all of our soldiers, and we're all soldiers in this war, to get this problem fixed--Abe Lincoln said a house divided against itself cannot stand--We need now everybody, everybody to act in unison to accomplish objectives I'd put the House, the Senate, the Democrats and the Republicans in that category. This is not politics as usual; we cannot be a dysfunctional family. We have a commander in chief, he needs to lead us so we can overcome this, and if he does, we will prevail."