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Jamie Dimon: 'America has to get its act together'

  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is frustrated by obstacles he sees keeping young people from having bright futures and workers from getting higher pay.
  • Dimon blasted the regulatory climate, saying small-business formation has been limited and prospective homebuyers can't get access to mortgages.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon runs the largest bank in the country but is frustrated by obstacles he sees keeping young people from having bright futures and workers from getting higher pay.

Speaking Wednesday at a Business Roundtable summit, Dimon implored the public to focus on "three really bad facts" that are limiting growth for the U.S. economy.

  • Some 70 percent of young men are ineligible for military service "because of either education — they can't read or write — or health, mostly obesity and diabetes. That's an unbelievable number," Dimon said. The number comes from a Pentagon study a few years back that said the military won't take 71 percent of males aged 17 to 24 for the reasons Dimon cited, as well as taking prescription drugs for ADHD, or having inappropriate tattoos or piercings.
  • "Half the kids in inner city schools don't graduate," he said. "Even those who graduate, they're not able to work a proper job." That number could come from a study nearly a decade ago that said the graduation rates in the nation's top 50 cities was 53 percent, against 71 percent for suburbs.
  • The labor force participation rate among American men has fallen sharply over the last generation or so. Government records show that the rate among men ages 25 to 54 has fallen from 96 percent in 1970 to 88.4 percent in May.

In addition, Dimon blasted the regulatory climate in the U.S., saying small-business formation has been limited and prospective homebuyers can't get access to mortgages. He said there are multiple obstacles that are keeping wage growth low — around 2.5 percent now and showing little signs of breaking out.

"I could go on and on and make a list of all the things that have slowed us down and held us back and affected jobs and wages," he said. "I think America has got to get its act together about a bunch of stuff, not just one."

Dimon has been an advocate for changes to the tax system as well. The roundtable reported Tuesday that business confidence is at a three-year high but CEOs remain concerned about inaction from Congress on President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda.

Dimon chairs the roundtable, a consortium of U.S. CEOs aimed at promoting job growth and economic prosperity.