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Cramer unveils the real reason the market's fear index is so low

With the CBOE Volatility Index, the stock market's fear gauge, dipping to its lowest levels in over 10 years, Jim Cramer had to figure out why worries are so low and whether it is a red flag.

First, the "Mad Money" host noted that the index, known as the VIX, is not a perfect measure of overall fear in the market. It is based on put and call options on the S&P 500, but excludes the various other ways to bet against the market that have emerged since it was created.

"But while the VIX might be atavistic, it is not obsolete," Cramer insisted. "The VIX may not be perfect, but it matters, and given that it broke down below 10 today, it's signaling that there is a lot less fear now than at any other time in more than a decade."

The first reason for the VIX's dip is that the economy is healthy and no longer worried about hasty interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve spurring another recession, Cramer said.

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"We have a uniform belief that the economy can indeed handle a couple of rate hikes, and maybe they'd even be good for business, particularly for the banks," the "Mad Money" host said. "It's pretty amazing that investors welcome rate hikes rather than fearing them. That is just a fear-killer."

Second, in the White House sits the most pro-business president the country has seen in years, with an economic team behind him that has deep ties to Wall Street.

"Maybe you think it's a bad thing that a bunch of important White House positions are filled by Goldman Sachs alums, "Cramer said. "Maybe you worry that this administration favors capital too heavily over labor, but you know what? This isn't 'Mad Labor Organizing,' it's 'Mad Money,' and favoring capital means these guys favor higher stock prices."

Third, global growth seems to be ticking up, with economies in Europe, Asia, and Latin America on the rise.

Fourth, massive worldwide oil reserves seem to rule out the possibility of a volatile oil shock.

Fifth, investing patterns have changed. Investors now use ETFs and index funds that Cramer said effectively put money into auto-pilot mode, erasing a lot of steps that once caused volatility.

"Maybe people feel if you weathered the financial crisis and came out the other side, then you aren't sweating this program," the "Mad Money" host said.

Cramer's sixth and final reason was earnings season, which featured a slew of better-than-expected reports and few downside surprises, with the exception of IBM and some of the oils.

"That said, none of these six explanations necessarily justifies the lack of fear," Cramer said. "I personally think there is too much complacency."

Cramer explained that whether it comes from the Fed or China or our own president, stocks will eventually, inevitably sell off and investors will wish they had kept more cash on the sidelines.

"After months and months of little movement, I don't want to say that this time is different. I don't want to do that. I don't want to say that we won't get any major declines again. That would be rank foolishness. I'm pretty sure that whatever event does trigger a decline will not be something you and I have foreseen. I remain committed to keeping some cash on the sidelines for that moment where we get blindsided, even if it hurts" he advised.

After all, the VIX does not measure how many and how much hedge funds are betting against the market and individual stocks. And not many big-league money managers are thrilled about the current state of the stock market, Cramer added.

"I think that if we had an actual poll of hedge funds we'd find overwhelming negativity ... about this market because it's too high, the valuation's too expensive, it needs to come down," he said. "The hedge fund VIX is probably off the charts after this run."

Perhaps those expectations are why the market is resisting a decline, Cramer mused.

"That excessive hedge fund negativity is a reason that I can embrace to explain why the big decline has, indeed, been so elusive," he said. "That means what looks like complacency may actually be a one-foot-out-the-door mentality of the big boys that stabilizes the market on every dip, and gives an appearance of complacency that might be much more like a desperate need to buy something, anything, before the next move back up."

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