Breaking Up With Uncle Ben
Not even a month after slashing interest rates and emphatically telling Wall Street he was willing to cut more if necessary – just what Cramer wanted – Ben Bernanke has fallen out of favor with Mad Money.
Why the short tryst? Uncle Ben’s testimony before Congress today proved yet again the former Princeton professor has no clue, Cramer said. The Federal Reserve chairman and his Washington cohorts insist inflation – and not deflation as Cramer believes – is the problem, so it’s no wonder they can’t find a solution to what ails this economy.
“It’s a deflationary problem,” Cramer said, “and the Fed needs to cut rates hard.”
Bernanke and gang are completely missing the mark on housing, too, it seems. Cramer called for the Federal Housing Authority to provide 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages for anyone who can’t get a loan from a bank.
And all the talk that the “Gang of Four” – Ambac , MBIA , MGIC and PMI Group – are in the clearmust stop, Cramer said. Washington needs to inject capital into these companies to keep them from going under. And while they’re at it, toss management “out on their collective keesters.”
To top it all off, the market has another problem now: auction rate preferred securities. Once considered a safe, short-term place for companies to invest cash, holders of these stocks and bonds are left holding the bag because the issuers won’t buy them back – not even Cramer’s beloved Goldman Sachs .
Once the Fed takes rates below 2%, Cramer said, the central bank needs to be willing to buy private assets from companies and banks, including the corporate bonds, mortgages and commercial paper behind these preferred securities. It’s the same solution that worked in the 19th century when a deflationary crisis hit U.S. farmers, and it’s the same solution Bernanke himself called for in a 2002 report to the National Economists Club, Cramer pointed out.
Of course, most likely Cramer’s advice to Bernanke will be met with the same regard as the valentines Mad Money sent to the Fed Thursday. Take a look.
Jim's charitable trust owns Goldman Sachs.
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