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JP Morgan profits from unemployed Americans


The deepest recession since the great depression has cost Americans more than eight million jobs and $787 billion in tax-payer funds for Wall Street.

Bailout recipient JP Morgan Chase has recovered well, while much of the population has not.

And in the latest twist, the investment bank appears to making a healthy profit from the electronic benefit cards used by unemployed citizens to receive their food allowances.

Gemma is an unemployed 61-year old with a monthly food budget of two hundred dollars. She is among the 43 million Americans relying on federal food subsidies.

The electronic benefit transfer card allows food stamp recipients to spend their allowance. A plastic lifeline for the hungry and unemployed is also a money maker for JP Morgan Chase, the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the US. Meaning an increase in food stamp recipients equals more profit for the investment bank.

"Yes it pisses me off that every time I use my debit card, JP Morgan make a little money off my transaction. JP Morgan is responsible for the fact that I’m unemployed. So it doesn’t surprise me that every aspect of this program and everything has been privatized," said Gemma.

JP Morgan Chase provides food stamp debit cards in 26 states and the District of Columbia.

The firm is paid per customer, and in the state of Indiana, JP Morgan earns 186-thousand dollars per month for its food debit card service. Critics say JP Morgan is making a fortune off American poverty.

"As long as the unemployment rate remains high, as long as families are struggling… there’s sorta this perverse incentive for JP Morgan Chase to continue to benefit off of high unemployment because in many states they’re actually off-shoring the jobs related to processing the food stamps," said Mary Bottari, Director of the Real Economy Project at the Center of Media and Democracy.

To save money, JP Morgan has been routing benefit card customer service calls to India, where employees reportedly earn no more than three-fifty an hour. Meanwhile, in the US abyss of economic hardship, nearly 14-million Americans are unemployed. JP Morgan has refused to say which states dial up customer service centers in India.

In 2008, JP Morgan received a $25 billion tax payer bailout. By 2010, the investment bank recovered, showing a 17.8 billion dollar profit in 2010.The same can’t be said for the people. Forty percent of food stamp recipients are working Americans unable to keep pace with the cost of living.

With food prices set to soar and few bonuses handed out to the common folks, JP Morgan anticipates profits will grow.


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