What’s the real cost of a financial crisis? Apparently, it depends on who’s paying.
If you’re Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, or Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America, it’s a price your $ 2tn bank can easily afford to make trouble go away.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s a price that has rendered your past five years a struggle of financial anxiety. If you’re an American, it’s a price that has resulted in a recession and recovery characterized by historically high poverty – with 42 million Americans on food stamps – and historically low rates of Americans working, with only 63% of the population gainfully employed.
As you rise up the financial ladder, the consequences of the financial crisis are increasingly arbitrary. The Department of Justice is looking for scalps – finally, after five years of drowsy hibernation – but some banks are whining about merely getting haircuts.
This week, two mortgage-crisis settlements hit the news: one potential and one official. The idea of a $ 13bn rumored fine to JP Morgan and an $ 848m fine to Bank of America would indicate two things.