Mad Money

Blame Declines on Political Gridlock

Markets: Politicians vs. Executive

U.S. stocks ended lower Tuesday with the S&P 500 index and Nasdaq logging a fifth-consecutive day of declines, as investors remain cautious over uncertainty surrounding heavy debt concerns in both the U.S. and Europe. To Cramer, American and European policymakers' lack of progress in dealing with heavy debt both regions has further sapped investor confidence in equities.

As a congressional committee failed to reach a deal to cut budget deficits, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 249 points. The deadlock raised fears that rating agencies might lower the U.S. government's credit rating if Congress tries to circumvent the automatic spending cuts that are supposed to occur in the event of an impasse. Some Republicans have said they would try to block cuts to defense spending.

In Europe, there were more signs of trouble surrounding its debt crisis. Spain was forced to pay sharply higher interest rates in an auction of short-term debt. The higher rates suggest that investors are still skeptical that the country will get its budget under control despite a new, center-right government coming to power this week. Investors have been worried that Spain could become the next country to need financial support from its European neighbors if its borrowing rates climb to unsustainable levels. Greece was forced to seek relief from its lenders after its long-term borrowing rates rose above 7 percent on the bond market. The rate on Spain's own benchmark 10-year bond is dangerously close to that level, 6.58 percent.

"I have never seen leaders here or in Europe do so much damage in the name of doing so much good," Cramer complained. "Business people around the globe are paralyzed by the indecision, the bickering, the lack of resolve of their leaders. No matter what positive steps business takes they seem always to be counteracted by the very people they elected and choose to lead them."

Cramer thinks policymakers should act quickly. President Barack Obama, for instance, could get behind natural gas as an alternative fuel because it's cleaner, cheaper and more abundant than foreign oil. Washington could also provide some certainty on whether or not taxes will be raised, or whether unemployment benefits will be extended. Until lawmakers start to lead, Cramer thinks the market will suffer further declines. with wire reports

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