BOSTON (AP) – The top executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday railed against the nation’s political leadership – but didn’t name names – saying government too often proposes solutions that appeal only to “the madness of the crowd” while letting complex issues such as energy policy go unresolved.

“We’ve seen this consistently – an oversimplifying and casting aside of issues and facts,” Jamie Dimon said in panel discussion on leadership issues at Harvard Business School, where Dimon earned an MBA in 1982.

When complex matters come before lawmakers on issues such as financial regulation and energy policy, many politicians are often unwilling to embrace appropriate policy solutions “because they say they’re not politically feasible,” Dimon said.

Dimon, who is chairman and chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, one of the biggest U.S. banking companies, acknowledged there’s plenty of blame to go around in the banking industry amid a financial crisis that has taken down several of his company’s key rivals.

But as his industry works with the government and Congress to create new regulations, Dimon is disinclined to place any more trust in government than in industry.

“I think the companies are more charitable than the average congressman, and probably more honest,” he said.

Speaking to more than 1,000 business leaders at a “Global Business Summit” celebrating Harvard Business School’s 100th anniversary, Dimon did not give names of specific leaders he believes were ignoring complex issues or being dishonest.

But he singled out energy policy and the nation’s dependence on foreign oil as problems that politicians have been unwilling to tackle in any comprehensive way since an oil shortage shook the nation in 1974.

“That train is going to hit us again,” Dimon said. “We are unable to make the decisions to make this country healthy.”

Dimon advocated taxing oil as it’s pumped from the ground, rather than simply taxing gasoline at the pump.

Such a step, he said, would likely prove politically unpopular because it would raise fuel costs, and would not appeal to “the madness of the crowd.” But he said it would help usher in a needed shift to more fuel-efficient cars and energy-efficient appliances, as consumers and business try to adjust to higher energy prices, he said.

One of Dimon’s fellow panelists, General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, said Dimon’s suggestion of taxing oil pumped from the ground would bring greater pressure on the auto industry to produce more efficient vehicles, and put his firm at risk of “trying to sell people cars they don’t want to buy.” But Wagoner also acknowledged the need to step up government efforts to encouarge more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Wagoner said companies across all industries need to be more cautious in their approach to the federal government. Too often, he said, they try to pressure political leaders to embrace policies that address only their company’s narrow agenda.

“This issue of a little more statesmanship on the part of business leaders is crucial,” Wagoner said.


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