King for a Day

Dear Jamie,

Yes, you’re the king. All those comparisons to J.P. Morgan must really be putting on the big head swell right now. You’re feeling pretty darned good, I bet.

And why not? You gave up several nights’ sleep to get this deal done. And the ends certainly appear to justify the means, at least in terms of your business reputation.

But I have to ask, Jamie (may I still call you Jamie?), what about the thousands of Bear Stearns employees whose nest eggs were wiped out? What about the shareholders who didn’t know enough to short the stock, e.g., those who actually followed Jim Cramer’s ebullient advice? And we haven’t even begun to contemplate how many jobs you’ll ax — in your hometown, no less.

If I were advising you (and who am I to offer JP Morgan’s heir incarnate advice?), I would say do something for the many tens of thousands Bear Stearns employees, investors, etc. whose life savings and livelihoods just took a serious turn for the worse as you triumphantly celebrate “stealing” the fifth largest bank in America.

Give some thought as to what you can do (versus say) that could ease their pain. Be a George Bailey, not a Mr. Potter.

Your old college friend,

Peter Himler