Just about two years ago, just weeks before the 2008 national election, JPMorgan Chase agreed to take $25 billion of taxpayer money. Your money. My money. And of course, what JPMorgan Chase did with that money was completely moral (major, major snark). You know, because they are in the morality business. In reality, JPMorgan Chase acquired companies! To make themselves stronger and even bigger-than-ever-to-fail.
The "line" we the public were force fed back then was that the banking industry--which of course created the economic meltdown that led to "The Great Recession"--was going to take our money and "stimulate the economy".
Fast forward two years and see what JPMorgan Chase is thinking of doing this week. Far from stimulating the economy, their proposed plan would shut down one of the nation's historic Asian museums. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is in dire financial straits and could be forced into bankruptcy if it can't work out a new deal with its lender [JPMorgan Chase]...[which] plans to close the Asian Art's line of credit as of Friday [November 19th]- in which case, the museum would lose $20 million that it put up in collateral.
And of course in these difficult times, museum attendance is down (funny thing isn't it, when you lose your job and your home, you just don't seem to want to take in the beauty that a museum offers), so revenues at the museum are down.
In the sickest of ironies, back in 2005 the museum was thinking ahead and tried to save money by restructuring its loans. That's ironic because the museum was hedging against rising interest rates, but then thanks to the greed of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Washington Mutual (which JPMorgan Chase acquired with taxpayer money! when WaMu went belly up) and other shamelessly greedy financial sector companies, interest rates fell and fell and fell.
If you're thinking that elected officials in Washington DC (or anywhere for that matter) will rush to the aid of the Asian Art Museum the way Uncle Sam rushed in with piles of cash to bail out the financial industry, think again. One San Francisco city representative...
speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "Nobody is using public money to bail them out."
And finally, what did JPMorgan Chase say to the San Francisco Chronicle about all of this?
A spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase promised to look into the matter late Friday, but did not get back to us by deadline.
I'm beyong disgust. You?