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AMERICA'S PROBLEMS.......Don't have a political party - Jamie Dimon

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Americans don't think about the challenges in their everyday lives -- from saving for retirement to driving on decaying highways - as Democratic or Republican issues, says JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.

And in order to address such issues, the country's political leaders need to stop thinking that way, the head of the largest U.S. lender said in an annual letter to investors that praised Congress's passage of tax reform while urging government and businesses to cooperate on tackling other economic issues, from trade policy to underfunded pension plans.

"By working together, business, government and the nonprofit sector can ensure and maintain a healthy and vibrant economy into the future -- creating jobs, fostering economic mobility and maintaining sustainable economic growth," Dimon said. "Ultimately, this translates to an improved quality of life and greater financial security for those in the United States struggling to make ends meet."

There are some tasks which only the government can do, he noted: coordinating a strong military, ensuring a properly functioning legal system and maintaining an effective transportation system.

"Some argue that the government should be doing more," Dimon said. "But when many Americans think of the government delivering services they think of the endless bureaucracy and paperwork associated with the Internal Revenue Services, the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs -- none of which would consistently get high marks."

Collaboration between government and business can avoid some of those pitfalls, he said, noting the success of the Veteran Jobs Mission in helping 400,000 former members of the armed services find work as well as the achievements of charter schools and community colleges.

The aftermath of a tax overhaul that reduced the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent -- in which businesses from Target to Pfizer and Bank of America awarded pay raises and bonuses -- is another illustration of the potential payoff, he said.

New York-based JPMorgan itself is investing $20 billion over the next five years, boosting loans for affordable homes and small businesses, adding to a branch network that already spans 23 states and raising wages for hourly employees by an average 10 percent.

The real benefit of overhauling the tax code, however, will be "the long-term cumulative effect of retained and reinvested capital in the United States, which means more companies, innovation and employment will stay in this country," Dimon wrote.

"There is a reason why it has taken 30 years for comprehensive tax reform to take place in this country: It is complicated work, and navigating competing interests is hard," the CEO added. "The United States should always aim to have a competitive business tax system."

JPMorgan's stock has climbed 5.2 percent this year to $112.52, outpacing both the KBW Bank Index and the broader S&P 500. The bank earned $24.4 billion in profit last year on total revenue of $103.6 billion.


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