Uncertainty in Washington has created a situation where it is simply "not prudent" to buy most stocks right now and investors may be better off staying on the sidelines, CNBC's Jim Cramer said.
"I'm searching for why the market isn't down more, because it just reads real bad," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street" Monday. "I think you can sell in October and then buy at the bottom in November. Every one of these sell-offs have given you a better opportunity to buy."
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"I just think for those that are trying to be prudent, taking cash off now - [and] betting a week from now that there will still be a lot of rancor - is a good bet, not a bad bet," he said. "This is one where all of us are way over our heads, including, unfortunately I think, [House Speaker John] Boehner and the President."
"Why today would you decide that is the day to buy? It's just not prudent. I don't see anything being done in the next 24 hours," he said. "There are a lot of people in this go-round who... are very detached from the real economy, who are trying to make a big point in Washington. The big point is that the government must be shut down."
As the market sold off early in the trading day Monday, Cramer said "there will be an uglier moment than now, I believe."
However, he said that the silver lining for the market is that Europe and Asia are rebounding while stocks in the aerospace, biotech and industrial sectors are showing strong signs of upward momentum.
"This is very early in the decline of the market," Cramer said. "The thing that saves us, I think, is that the Fed didn't taper."
He added that many alternative investments, such as gold, don't look very good right now, and dividends are likely the place to go for investors looking for yield. Because of the weakness in stock alternatives, he said the market is not likely to go dramatically lower.
However, earlier, on "Squawk Box," Cramer said that "from a stock point of view, we're too high."