Cramer isn’t the only person, or organization, that needs to atone for his sins. On Monday, he called on the SEC to make right its blunders of the past few years.
First, reinstate the uptick rule. This little but important rule requires a stock to tick up in price before it’s sold short. It was created after the Great Depression to prevent another crash, but Christopher Cox, the SEC chair under President George W. Bush, eliminated it. Then look what happened: Short sellers relentlessly hammered down stocks with impunity, and the Western financial system almost screeched to a halt.
“Without the uptick rule, bad markets became awful,” Cramer said, adding, “That’s why we need to bring [it] back.”
Second, the SEC needs to ban ultra-short exchange-traded funds, which double and triple each shareholder’s investment to supposedly generate better returns. Not only did they, along with the uptick rule, almost destroy American banks, but also they don’t work as advertised. These funds reset daily, making their longer-term performance a product of volatility than anything else. So even, say, the UltraShort Financial ProShares can make its investors no money when the credit crisis has that sector teetering on the brink.
Also, Cramer wanted the SEC to hold the real bad guys accountable, rather than slapping wrists so as to clear its docket. That’s what happened when the regulator fined Bank of America $33 million for paying $3.6 billion in bonuses to employees from the newly acquired Merrill Lynch. The worst part? Shareholders ended up paying that, not the bad actors at the center of this mess.
Lastly, the SEC needs to make sure we never suffer another Bernie Madoff. The guy was running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, and the SEC was worried about “front running”?
“The SEC has a lot to atone for,” Cramer said. “They can do it by doing their jobs.”
Cramer's charitable trust owns Bank of America.
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