Is Warren Buffett using his clout to to try to get Jamie Dimon into the Secretary of the Treasury position? This seems like a bizarre proposition. And to be fair, it was Charlie Rose who first brought it up in an interview on his show Monday night on PBS. But Buffett seemed not at all surprised by the question and this is hardly the first time the idea has been brought up.
This is far from the first time Dimon's name has been raised as a potential Treasury chief. It has come up time and time again. But the idea gets increasingly terrible every time it is raised. When his name was first mentioned, back in 2009, when everybody was already sick to death of Tim Geithner, Dimon had not yet fully launched his tireless, years-long campaign to whine as much as humanly possible about financial regulation. He had not yet let his eye wander from his chief investment office while it racked up dangerous bets on credit derivatives. Now that he has done both of those things, you would think he had fully disqualified himself. Apparently not.
Here is the video from the Charlie Rose show on 11/26/12. At the 50 minute mark, Charlie Rose asks about Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary.
And look at this video with Charlie Rose out there pushing it on CBS as well.
“I think Jamie Dimon actually would be, I think he’d be terrific.”
“If we did run into problems in markets, I think he would actually be the best person you could have in the job."
"World leaders would have confidence in him."
“Obviously, you know, there was a failure of control,” Buffett, 82, said to Rose about the trading loss. “If you run an army, if you run a church, if you run a government, any large institution, people will go off the reservation sometimes.”
Matt Taibbi thinks it would be a "revolution-provoking decision".
money.cnn.com/2012/11/27/new… if Dimon is named Treasury Sec... would be a revolution-provoking decision. Appalling that is even being considered— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) November 28, 2012
Forbes writer implied that Obama and Dimon are on the outs and their relationship is forever changed because of Obama's "antagonistic relationship with business" which I find to be laughable, but there it is.
Blankfein Offers Obama Fiscal Cliff Advice But Where Was Jamie Dimon?
But while Blankfein spent his day playing up his diplomacy in Washington his big bank counterpart, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, was not there to offer his advice. That’s odd considering Dimon’s once friendly relationship with the Obama administration. [...]
Dimon, once a regular White House visitor, was invited today but unable to attend, according to a person familiar with the meetings.
Just days after the President was re-elected Dimon took to CNBC saying that while he has respect for Obama he’s got a problem with his “antagonistic relationship with business.” The President did call Dimon (among other CEOs) to discuss the fiscal cliff.
No matter though because the relationship between the big bank CEO and the President, for whatever it was worth, will never return to its glory days.
Generally, when Warren Buffett gives advice about the U.S. economy, people listen. So maybe this means something or maybe it means nothing at all. Why did Charlie Rose bring this up to begin with? Warren Buffett did not hesitate in his answer and seemed not at all surprised by the question. Was it something he had talked about with Rose beforehand?
Jack Lew is considered to be the front runner for the job at Treasury. There has been a lot of talk about Erskine Bowles also being on the short list. Could Lew do as good a job of being "Wall Street's man in Washington" as Geithner did?
But there has been an interesting recent development with respect to Lew. Lew was not chosen to lead the negotiations for the fiscal
scam cliff deal even though he did do it last time around and even though he does have the most experience with federal budgets and with negotiating this particular kind of grand bargain. I can think of a few reasons why this choice might have been made, but that is a discussion for another post.
Dayen says that the Republicans objected to having Lew as lead negotiator but an article from CNNMoney says that Wall Street doesn't want him as Treasury secretary.
Wall Street isn't backing Jack Lew for TreasuryThe White House has said that Geithner will remain in position until the inauguration and Dayen's article says that he is staying until the grand
FORTUNE -- Jack Lew, the frontrunner to be named Treasury Secretary in Obama's second term, isn't Wall Street's first choice for the key economic post. He's not even its second.
"I've talked to a bunch of investors and it's seen as a net negative going from [Tim] Geithner to Lew," says Chris Krueger, senior political analyst at Guggenheim Partners. "Who does Wall Street want? Not Jack Lew."
Lew, 57, spent three years on Wall Street working at Citigroup (C) as the chief operating officer of its alternative asset investment management unit. One of the funds Lew's group invested in was run by John Paulson, who at the time was betting heavily against the housing markets and banks. But that's not the part of Lew's resume that anyone seems to remember. And it's certainly not the important part.
Nonetheless, some financial executives say that if Obama were to choose Lew for Treasury Secretary, it would signal that the president is not as serious about mending his relationship with corporate leaders as he says. Wall Streeters say the two other candidates who are considered in the mix for the job, former investment banker and two-time second Erskine Bowles and BlackRock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink, would be preferable to Lew. Bowles has been a deficit hawk, and Fink clearly knows the debt market. What's more, unlike Lew, neither one would need an introduction to Wall Street.