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Billionaire CEO Of JPMorgan Lectures America On Income Inequality

REUTERS/Mike Theiler

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, lectured America on the importance of fighting income inequality in a New York Times op-ed Tuesday, although Dimon earns 264.8 times the salary of his average employee and 1278.9 times the salary of his minimum wage workers.

The company announced Tuesday they will raise the minimum pay for 18,000 low-tier employees to between $12 and $16.50 dollars because it’s “the right thing to do.”

Dimon received a $27 million dollar compensation package in 2015, up 35 percent from the previous year, while the low-tier workers in question working full-time earned roughly $21,112. Revenue per employee at JPMorgan currently sits at $417,740, nearly 20 times the income of a full-time wage earner. Even if the minimum wage at JPMorgan rises to $16.50, revenue per employee would still be 12 times worker compensation, according to Market Watch.

Dimon wrote that income inequality is “a national tragedy and economic crisis,” a far cry from remarks in the fall defending large CEO salaries while arguing smartphones, cars and overall better technology help balance the effects of income inequality.

“It’s not right to say we’re worse off,” Dimon said at a September event in Detroit, according to Bloomberg. “It is true that income inequality has kind of gotten worse. Still, you can take the compensation of every CEO in America and make it zero and it wouldn’t put a dent into it. What really matters is growth.”

He made these comments roughly two months after officially becoming a billionaire.

JPMorgan slashed 5,000 jobs in May of last year in an effort to save the company money. The company cut an additional 100 jobs on its private banking side this May so they can focus on a smaller group of wealthier clients.

The point being that JPMorgan and other companies like Starbucks, which hiked prices on consumers today after raising wages, are not giving their employees higher pay out of benevolence. Companies are struggling to hire employees to fill specialized positions at a record rate, taking an average 1.1 months to hire just one new person, notes Steve Goldstein, D.C. Bureau Chief for Market Watch, in an op-ed.

Workers are actually becoming more expensive — median pay growth climbed 3.5 percent over the last year — and people switching jobs are making average salary gains of 4.3 percent. Goldstein argues Dimon and other CEO’s taking similar actions are simply responding to market forces so they can hold onto their current employees.

Dimon’s compensation package currently breaks down to $1.5 million in salary, $5 million in cash bonus and $20.5 million in performance based stock grants. Part of the reason Dimon’s compensation rose 35 percent year-over-year is because the board decided to tie salary to results, meaning executives must hit certain annual targets to fully benefit from their stock grants.

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