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Opinion
Jonathan Weil

Who Really Wins if JPMorgan Pays $13 Billion?

 It has been widely reported that the $13 billion settlement would be the largest ever by the government with a single company. Yet we still don’t have enough facts to know which side would emerge the real winner.

Memories of the fictional sports announcer Biff Burns came to mind this weekend amid all of the anonymously attributed news reports that the Justice Department had reached a tentative settlement agreement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. worth $13 billion.

Burns was part of the comedian George Carlin's stable of characters. His shtick was to report the day's scores while omitting basic information. ("Here's a partial score: Pittsburgh 37." Or, "Quickly now the basketball scores: 110 to 102, 125 to 113, 131 to 127.") Likewise, it has been widely reported that the $13 billion settlement would be the largest ever by the government with a single company. Yet we still don't have enough facts to know which side would emerge the real winner.