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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. (Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is calling on companies to play a bigger role in the world’s problems, saying today in his annual shareholders letter that the business sector should be a “responsible community citizen."

Why it matters: Corporations are increasingly facing more pressure to take a stand on politically divisive issues.

  • "[C]ompanies (like ours) have an extraordinary capability to help ... not just with funding but with developing strong public policy, which can have a greater impact on society," Dimon writes.

What he's saying: "I think America has a bright future. I don't know if we're at a crossroads or not, but I think the better strategy is to assume we are and to fix it. It's a bad idea to not fix it and hope that it really wasn't that important," Dimon tells Axios in an interview.

The big picture: Dimon's letter is widely read for the head of the nation's largest bank's musings on the economy, the financial system and politics.

  • He dedicates an entire section to public policy — saying America's competitiveness and leadership were challenged by "China, Covid-19 and our own competence."
  • Dimon says the nation's policy design and implementation have been "hampered by short-term thinking" and few institutions are blameless.
  • "We are bogged down, sometimes crippling our nation, because of self-interest and the associated bureaucracy and bad thinking that follow," says Dimon.

More details from the shareholder letter:

On the stock market: "While equity valuations are quite high (by almost all measures, except against interest rates), historically, a multi-year booming economy could justify their current price."

  • Dimon says "there is some froth and speculation in parts of the market, which no one should find surprising."

On taxes: "Business tax rates should be globally competitive."

  • "The wealthy are less likely to complain about taxes if the money is to help the less fortunate or help build a better country."

On the shrinking role of legacy banks: Banks face "extensive competition from Silicon Valley, both in the form of fintechs and Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and now Walmart), that is here to stay."

On the lasting effects of remote work: "For every 100 employees, [JPMorgan] may need seats for only 60 on average. This will significantly reduce our need for real estate." (It's still planning to build its new New York City headquarters.)

Read the letter.

Go deeper

Health care ruling saves Republicans from themselves

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Supreme Court saved the health care system from imploding Thursday by dismissing a Republican challenge to the Affordable Care Act. But it also saved the GOP itself from another round of intraparty chaos.

Why it matters: Most GOP lawmakers privately admit (and some will even say publicly) they don't want to deal with health care again. The issue generally isn't a good one for them with voters — as they learned the hard way after they failed to repeal the ACA in 2017.

8 hours ago - Economy & Business

Fed chief's second-term audition

Jerome Powell during a virtual news conference. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell faces a long, hot summer audition for a second term, with senators watching and weighing his response to potential signs of inflation.

Why it matters: The financial system's chief is one of the most powerful in the world. President Biden hasn’t given any public indication whether he’ll renominate Powell, but Democrats close to the administration say there's a chance he'll make an announcement by Labor Day — well before Powell’s term ends next February.

10 hours ago - World

Mapping China's growing global influence

Data: Atlantic Council; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of 1980, China was the most influential player in just one country: Albania. Now, China is the leading power across most of sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia and is catching up to the U.S. in its own hemisphere.

What we’re reading: That's according to a new report from the University of Denver and the Atlantic Council that seeks to measure the influence countries have on each other, and in so doing offers a dramatic portrait of China's rise.