Oct. 10, 2012 at 2:55 PM ET
The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co, Jamie Dimon, waded into the U.S. fiscal debate on Wednesday when he said he was willing to pay a higher individual tax rate while calling for lower corporate taxes so U.S. business can compete in a global economy.
"I don't mind paying 39.6 percent in taxes," Dimon said in an interview in Washington at the Council on Foreign Relations, backing the Democrats' position.
Speaking at the CFR event, Dimon also discussed the losses incurred by JPMorgan buying Wall Street firm Bear Stearns during the financial crisis, and the massive losses incurred by a London-based trader called the “London whale.”
On the subject of taxes, Dimon said he might back an increase in the capital gains tax rate to around 24 percent from 15 percent, a proposal by President Barack Obama, for people making above $250,000.
Republicans want to extend low rates that expire on Dec. 31 for all income groups, while Obama and Democrats want to extend the lower rates only for households earning up to $250,000.
Dimon is one of several CEOs lobbying lawmakers to create more certainty around tax and budget issues, as the United States faces a "fiscal cliff" of $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts should Congress fail to act by the end of the year.
Dimon's total compensation in 2011 was $23 million, including pay and bonuses.
Dimon said his company has lost up to $10 billion as a result of the government asking him to buy teetering Wall Street firm Bear Stearns during the financial crisis.
"I'm going to say we've lost $5 billion to $10 billion on various things related to Bear Stearns now. And yes, I put it in the unfair category," Dimon said.
Last week, JPMorgan was hit with a fresh civil lawsuit from the New York attorney general, seeking to hold the bank accountable for allegations that Bear Stearns deceived investors buying mortgage-backed securities.
"Would I have done Bear Stearns again knowing what I know today? It's real close," Dimon said.
Speaking on the subject of the "London whale" -- a derivatives trader that saddled the bank with a multibillion-dollar loss, Dimon said the bank "made a stupid error."
"I should have caught it ... I didn't," he said.
So far, JPMorgan has estimated its total trading loss at $5.8 billion.
Reuters contributed to this report.