Today is a special day for me, as the check I wrote to Chase’s Jamie Dimon cleared my bank account.

So long, Jamie!

Count me among the fortunate who leased a vehicle in 2020, so the real-world value of my Subaru Outback far exceeds the residual value on my Chase auto lease. Like $8,000 exceeds, according to Kelly Blue Book.

I didn’t have to call Cousin Rob to help me with the math to figure out what to do.

Knowing I bested billionaire Chase CEO Jamie Dimon feels mighty good, akin to the thrill he must have gotten when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen last week sought to divert more deposits to Dimon’s “too-big-too-fail” bank on which he will pay virtually no interest. I guess that will mean no more flyers in the mail offering $200 to open a Chase account.

There’s lot of other people profiting bigly if they leased a vehicle in 2020.

The average trade-in value of cars leased in 2020 is 19% more ($3,965) than the predetermined residual value, according to data crunched by Edmunds for CNBC. Although the so-called positive equity was an average $7,208 a year ago for 2019 leases, I’m still glad I leased in March 2020, literally days before California imposed its Covid home confinement prison mandates.

Since the pandemic, I’ve driven my Subaru a fraction of the miles I did before the Covid lockdown. The vehicle is as good as new, which is a good thing because I hope to keep it for quite some time.

Even if I won a lottery with a mega jackpot, I wouldn’t buy a new car given current market conditions. The auto industry is in turmoil: Elon Musk, for all his technology brilliance, was forced to recall some Teslas because someone forgot to tighten some rear seat bolts.

Over at Jim Farley’s Ford, the assembly line of his environment destroying electric F-150 Lightning pickup trucks had to be halted for weeks because a newly assembled vehicle burst in flames in a holding lot while awaiting a “quality control” inspection. GM’s Mary Barra had to ground the sale of her monster electric pickup trucks because of a potential problem with water seeping into the battery pack.

Water seeping into the battery pack – that really inspires confidence in GM’s electric vehicle engineering capabilities. There’s also been issues with Barra’s Cadillac Lyriq, including software problems and structural annoyances like improperly sized windshield molding retainer brackets.

A former financial services client turned me on to the merits of leasing more than two decades ago. The great thing about leasing is that I always felt the vehicle belonged to Jamie Dimon. I didn’t care one iota if Dimon’s car got a scratch or two.

The other advantage to leasing was that the technology kept advancing to make the cars safer, and with leasing I got a new car every 24 or so months. Subaru dealers always offered to put me into a newer Outback long before my lease expired for the same or less money.

Safety is my number one priority, and I wanted the latest and greatest braking, camera, and other features that decreased the likelihood of me getting into an accident. I knew these features were meaningful because Travelers gave me insurance discounts.

Demanding discounts is in my DNA.

Safety is one of Subaru’s competitive edges. I also appreciate the company’s values – and we know how “values” are the driving forces behind U.S. corporations these days.

Subaru is based in Japan, and they don’t just talk the values talk, they walk the values walk.

Subaru loves pets as much as I do, and as do most of my fellow Subaru owners. Nearly 70 percent of Subaru owners own a pet and 50% of them have at least one dog. Subaru and its retailers have donated more than $42 million to national and local organizations, aiding in the adoption, rescue, transport, and health care of nearly 350,000 animals and pets.

The company posts heart-wrenching pet videos on its website.

U.S. corporations today all profess a commitment to gay causes, but where were they more than 20 years ago when Subaru was supporting publications targeting lesbians, who appreciated the automaker’s vehicles, particular its Forrester brand. It’s neither a myth, nor an accident, that Subaru is the No. 1 auto brand in the lesbian world.

Subaru has never sought any honors or medals for its progressive marketing. They did it because it was good for business and the company is as loyal to its customers as its customers are to the company. I know this because years ago I had an issue that Subaru promptly resolved and went way beyond what I expected to make things right.

It’s why I’m rooting for the Japan-based automakers to prevail, particularly Honda, the most red, white, and blue of all the automakers, including GM and Ford. I’ve been driving Japanese brands since the mid-80s and I ditched my death trap GM Chevy Citation for a Toyota Celica, a 5-speed sports car I’m still mourning because it couldn’t survive the pot holed streets of New York City.

As readers of this blog might have noticed, the passage of time hasn’t mitigated my disdain for General Motors, which still knowingly sells dangerous vehicles.

I know virtually nothing about the CEOs of Toyota, Honda, and Subaru, which allows me to write my own narratives about them. The Japanese, except for Nissan, make exceptional automobiles, which I like to believe is a legacy from the days when top executives in that country would commit hara-kiri if their organizations engaged in any wrongdoing.

If U.S. executives adopted the hara-kiri practice, we wouldn’t have enough cemetery space to bury them all.

Toothbrush charger.

Electric vehicles are supposedly the future, which for now means Tesla is the only real option. It’s a wonder to me how anyone could buy an electric vehicle where the manufacturer didn’t have the good sense to build a network of superfast charging stations to keep them operable. My iPad came with a charger, my electric toothbrush came with a charger, my dog’s illuminating dog collar came with a charger – things that require charging should have their own proprietary chargers!

With due respect to Cousin Rob and the legions of Tesla owners who love their electric propulsion wheels, I think they are obnoxious and soulless vehicles, very much in the image of the CEO who runs the company that makes them. Cousin Rob’s Model S came with a toy steering wheel that’s called a “yoke.” All I can think about every time I ride in the car is how much Musk saved selling high end luxury vehicles with half a steering wheel.

Elon Musk is no animal lover; his medical device Neuralink is reportedly under federal investigation related to accusations from employees that pressure from the tech mogul to produce results led to barbaric and botched surgeries on monkeys, sheep and pigs involved in scientific tests. Heck if I’m going to drive a car made by a company whose controlling shareholder would knowingly do harm to Curious George, Bambi, and Porky.

From what I’ve read, Musk isn’t much of a people person, either.

I confess to admiring the designs of some electric vehicles, particularly the Mercedes 2023 EQS 450 I spied walking my dog in the neighborhood. I’m guessing my dog liked the vehicle as well because he opted to poop near the rear wheel.

Mercedes 2023 EQS 450/Mercedes website

I looked up the cost of the vehicle, which was parked in front of a modest home. $104,400 MSRP. The local Beverly Hills dealer was selling it for more than that.

Where are people getting the money to buy these vehicles?

The ultimate reason I won’t buy an electric vehicle is they are harmful to the environment. Until the industry develops more environmentally friendly ways to mine the metals and minerals required to manufacture EVs, I’ll drive my gas engine Subaru as a matter of protest.

Regretfully, I’m not quite yet done with Jamie Dimon. My adjustable 7-year, 2.5% mortgage recently came due, and Dimon stuck it to me by more than doubling the interest rate and hitting me with thousands of dollars in questionable fees. Unlike the depositors of Silicon Valley Bank, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen offered me no bailout or relief.

Dimon gets the last laugh – all the way to his bank.

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