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Out with Cox, in with Uptick Rule

Friday, 21 Nov 2008 | 11:29 PM ET

There's one specific decision, Cramer believes, that President-elect Obama can make that would have immediate positive effects and "restore stability and credibility to our stock market" -- without costing a dime! It could even stop the "endless incredible pummeling of stocks." What's this miracle move, you ask? Simple: he should replace SEC Chairman Chris Cox.

Cramer strongly feels that everything Cox did to benefit short-sellers over regular, long investors needs to be repealed. The market rallied today with Obama's selection of Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary. Cramer hasn't exactly showered Geithner with love on the show, for good reason: he was the "main architect" in the Lehman Brothers debacle that started the landslide.

Despite all that, Cramer is willing to be magnanimous and give Geithner a chance -- perhaps he learned from that disaster and will act accordingly. But in Cramer's mind, there's simply no excuse for Cox 's actions and "he must be moved out immediately."

The policies he enacted in the SEC gave huge power to short-sellers -- power enough to "manipulate stocks down legally through multiple different means." The worst of his policy decisions was eliminating the "uptick rule."

Cramer on the Uptick Rule
The uptick rule wasn't broke, but the SEC fixed it and put the fix in for the shorts. It's time to give the longs back a level playing field, stop the rigging of the market by the shorts, and bring capitalism, not capital destruction, back to our markets, says Cramer.

The uptick rule was devised in the '30s by Congress and the SEC following the Great Crash to prevent a repeat of it from ever occurring. They investigated the tactics used by market manipulators and installed the simple yet effective uptick rule -- a rule that "required short-sellers to wait until a buyer could be found to pay an uptick, meaning a higher price, before they could short a stock."

The government back then understood that buyers are smart -- they'd "vanish if they believed there was something wrong with a stock," like when sellers "want to get out so badly they'll sell at any price."

After Cox did away with this safeguard, short-sellers ran rampant, shorting stocks "all the way down" without needing to wait for buyers, which is what happened to Citigroup. Cramer: "I think the shorts played a key role in obliterating this once great American bank."

Bottom line: "You want order restored, the markets to work again, an end to the endless sowing of fear? Then bring back the rules we put in place to avoid another Great Crash. The uptick rule wasn't broken, but the SEC 'fixed' it and put the 'fix' in for the shorts. It's time to give the longs back a level playing field, stop the rigging of the market by the shorts, and bring capitalism, not capital destruction, back to our markets."



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