Pennsylvania voters, with their April 22 primary fast approaching, probably couldn’t care less about Barack Obama’s poor bowling skills or Hillary Clinton’s Rocky-like resilience. With the credit crisis, housing collapse and outsourcing of jobs overseas, the average American is more concerned about paychecks than political spin.
So when Sen. Hillary Clinton returned to Mad Money Wednesday, Cramer took the opportunity to ask her some serious questions about the economy. Here are a few key quotes from the interview:
On keeping jobs in the U.S.:
“I'm big on trying to insource jobs instead of outsource jobs. How do we provide incentives like getting everything out of our tax codes that encourages somebody to move a job overseas and instead shift those, you know, incentives and those tax dollars right back here at home?.”
On waiving 401(k) early-withdrawal penalties for homebuyers:
“I would open that up. You know, I have a proposal for an American Retirement Account, which is a universal account, like a 401(k) and you can use it for much broader range of purposes without penalty because what we want to do is incentivize savings and when people save, especially if it's tax-free savings, we want to give them a chance to make what are reasonable, you know, decisions, like buying a home, sending a kid to college. So let's be smart again about how we try to get Americans moving back toward wealth creation. And if we lock it up and we say you can't spend it without a penalty, I think that works against an individual. It also works against the larger economy.”
On the Bush administration’s slow reaction to the market crisis:
“It's laissez-faire, that's right [agreeing with Cramer]. You know, ‘we're just not going to interfere. Let the market work its magic.’ Well, we haven't done that since the Great Depression. You know, we haven't done that since Teddy Roosevelt started busting trusts, and thank God we haven't. But now we're in a new world where we've got to have much more oversight and transparency in order to figure out how we're going to navigate these kind of choppy, dangerous waters. So it was ideological. It was also, I think, a false sense of security that the existing processes understood what they were doing. But the fact is, as you know so well, nobody understands these new financial instruments. I mean, maybe there’s three guys in a basement somewhere.”
On the loss of regulatory power for the SEC and the bump in power for the Federal Reserve:
“We just have to figure out that we've got to regulate our economy and try to figure out a global framework, and we need institutions like the SEC to be strengthened, not weakened…I think the Fed does need some additional regulatory authority. If they're going to open the discount window to noncommercial banks, which they have done, then they're going to have to provide more oversight.”
On the Federal Reserve’sBear Stearns bailout:
“I'm not going to second-guess the Fed because I, obviously, don't have privy to all the information, and my understanding is it was more about the ripple effect, the cascade of, you know, disaster that would've flown from that. And so, you know, action probably did have to be taken. But I think it's fair to say that we're still just looking at one end of this problem. We're not looking at the deeper problems, the failure of oversight, the, you know, the real dismissal of warnings like the ones I made a year ago, that, you know, that we were heading toward a lot of trouble. So there's enough blame to go around. Everybody has contributed to this. Let's not compound it. Let's start to take some action, both by the regulatory authorities, the administration and the Congress. Let's show that we're a grown-up country and we can take care of business again. That's what I think people are looking for.”
Watch the video for more of Cramer’s interview with Sen. Clintonand her take on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, NAFTA, sovereign wealth funds and more.
Questions for Cramer?
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