Welcome back to our Friday re-cap of this week’s news on the money side of life.
J.P. Morgan says “Oops.” This week, J.P. Morgan Chase announced an embarrassing $2 billion in trading losses since early April, due to what CEO Jamie Dimon calls “errors, sloppiness and bad judgment” in trades apparently intended to hedge against risk. Though the loss could be bad for the bank’s overall profits, the real significance isn’t so much the dollar amount, which analysts say is “manageable.” Of greater concern: the fact that this doesn’t look good in light of current regulations aimed at speculative investments that only benefit banks…you know, the kind of stuff that contributed to the mega financial crisis we’re still all recovering from.
Business too casual. Facebook executives are making the rounds in an investment “road show” this week, visiting potential investors in anticipation of next week’s IPO. Along the way, scandal has erupted over Mark Zuckerberg’s choice to wear a hooded sweatshirt in an investment meeting in New York City. One analyst in an interview with Bloomberg criticized Zuckerberg’s casual attire, calling it “immature” and demonstrating a lack of respect for Wall Street culture. Next time, maybe he should upgrade to the executive pinstriped hoodie.
Marriage equality and campaign money. In a first for a U.S. president, President Obama said in an interview this week that he believes gay couples should have a right to marry. Proponents rejoiced, prompting a surge of monetary support for Obama’s re-election campaign; some estimates reported $1 million in donations just 90 minutes after the interview. Those that grimaced at the news included the Romney campaign. In an interview since, Romney said marriage shouldn’t be a campaign fundraising issue–though it’s yet to be seen how his own stance could impact fundraising from conservatives. Polls say America is divided about 50/50 on the same-sex marriage issue.
Rich ambition. A Gallup poll published today finds that a majority of Americans–at a rate that hasn’t changed in 20 years–think it’s good for our society to have a class of rich people, even despite recent concern over the disparity between rich and poor. The support for a wealthy class may stem from a universal hope that we all get there ourselves: 47% of 18 to 29-year-olds in the poll said they think it’s likely they’ll become rich in the future. The percentage of hopefuls decreased with age, but even 8% of 65+ Americans who don’t already consider themselves rich cling to the idea that their windfall’s still coming.
Mom controversy: drink up. Time magazine stirred up major controversy with a photo of a young mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son on the cover of this week’s issue, accompanied by the injurious title, “Are you mom enough?” The issue itself examines the philosophy of attachment parenting (which advocates measures like prolonged breastfeeding and co-sleeping), including the role it plays in the economic standing of women.