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Jamie vs. Lloyd

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

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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