Dear President Trump,
This morning, once I was fully awake, I realized I was thinking about California Representative Katie Porter. Yesterday evening I watched her laser-focused questioning of JPMorgan Chase’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, and apparently she was so compelling my brain wouldn’t let her go.
Did you see the clips? No? I’m shocked!
Well, the gist is that she created a plausible entry level JPMorgan Chase employee with one child living in Irvine, CA. She gave her the typical hourly wage of $16.50, arrived at her annual salary after taxes, and then tallied up her expenses, ultimately finding she was in the red nearly $600 every month. Porter then asked Dimon how he thought his employee should handle her monthly shortfall, whether she should charge the discrepancy to a JPM-C credit card or perhaps overdraw her account at JPM-C every month. All Dimon could come up with was “I don’t know, I’d have to think about it.”
How likely do you think it is that this man who made 31 million dollars last year will think about it beyond what he needs to do from a PR standpoint? Rhetorical question; I already know the answer.
Then there was Porter’s questioning of Equifax CEO, Mark Begor, regarding that company’s massive data breach. In case you missed this one too, she opened by asking Begor to state his name, SSN, DOB, and address. He declined, saying he was uncomfortable sharing this information so publicly. When pressed regarding the reasons for his demurral he said he’d been a victim of identity theft. Porter validated his concern and then asked him to square these real privacy issues with his company’s attempt to have the suit against them dismissed by claiming there was no harm. Begor launched into the standard song and dance about needing to look into what the company attorneys said but Porter cut him off, reminding him that they work for him and saying she wanted an answer now. He demurred again.
In a recent article in the online National Law Journal, Amy Jeffress, a corporate attorney, gave Porter kudos for having done her homework. She then said something that made my stomach turn: “It means that we all have to think ahead in that same way and think about what has a company been saying in litigation.” Here was an opportunity to take the high road, but instead the emphasis was on better damage control strategies to protect shareholder interests. Truly, reading it left me feeling ill. It also convinced me that we need legions of Katie Porters who will effectively address the practical implications of unfettered corporate greed and mendacity.
May we create government that will protect us from corporate greed.
May we be willing to find ways to put our economy on a track that’s positive for everyone.
May greedy CEOs and their political hacks have nightmares about the Katie Porters among us.
May we not make peace with a system that privileges the 1% over everyone else.