JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon knew what he was talking about when he said that ""large corporate America is in very, very, very, very good shape." It's a crude and insensitive remark, but an accurate one.
Unfortunately, the rest of us are still paying for the party. We bailed out the big bankers once, and if Dimon has his way we'll probably be forced to do it again. Despite his company's record first quarter, he's complaining. He thinks that asking banks to cover the cost of their own potential failure is "punitive." Dimon, once known as the "Democrats' banker," is throwing more cash to the GOP these days, and in return his wishes are being slavishly carried out by the likes of Mitch McConnell.
How dangerous are Dimon and his colleagues? Using data from Robert Litan's valuable study of derivatives, as well as source data from the Comptroller of the Currency (plus some handy tips from Mike Konczal), I put together some pie charts.<!--break-->
1. "Too Big to Fail" is Worse Than You Think
The misuse of derivatives nearly brought down the economy, and the concentration of these instruments in a few hands forced the government to bail out their holders. Are we any safer today? Here's the market share held by the top five banks trading in derivatives:
No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. The top five banks hold nearly 96% of the entire derivatives market.
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