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Jamie vs. Lloyd

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Depending on your point of view, Jamie Dimon is the saint of Wall Street and Lloyd Blankfein is Wall Street’s biggest villain. Or vice-a-versa. Or maybe they’re both villains.

I suppose some might even argue that Dimon, the top honcho at JPMorgan Chase and Blankfein, the top gun at Goldman Sachs, are both saints. But the people in the pro-sainthood camp are keeping their thoughts to themselves these days.

But if charitable giving is one way to measure a person’s generosity and human spirit, Blankfein comes in slightly ahead of Dimon. Based on the most recent tax records for their respective charitable foundations, Blankfein distributed $643,850 to various groups in 2007 to Dimon’s charitable gift giving of $440,383.

Blankfein spread his money around between 38 charitable groups, many of them Jewish organizations. Dimon contributed to 16 different groups, of which a third are based in Chicago. Dimon, of course, lived in Chicago when he headed up Bank One, which eventually merged with JPMorgan.

Repaying TARP….not so fast

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The Obama administration is on the verge of letting a number of financial institutions–think Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase–to begin paying back tens of billions in bailout money. That may sound like a good idea, especially with the federal deficit continuing to balloon. But what’s the rush?

It’s obvious why the banks want to get out from under the Troubled Asset Relief Program: they want to be free of government meddling and prove they can operate without government support. But Sandy Lewis and William Cohan, in a long op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday, make a good case for the administration going slow in allowing banks to repay the bailout money.

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