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Cramer: No way the Fed should hike rates now

Cramer: Fed should lower rates on data

There's no way the Fed should raise interest rates because the economy "is not going the way it's supposed to," CNBC's Jim Cramer said Tuesday ahead of a two-day Fed policy meeting.

"I would like to see some March data because, I've got to tell you, February data indicates you should be cutting rates, not raising them," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street. " "I'm not being facetious. I'm just saying, look if you had that data and the rates were 2 percent , you'd probably want to take them down to 1.75."

Cramer made his remarks after the Commerce Department reported that February housing starts plummeted 17 percent to 897,000 units, missing economists' estimate of 1.05 million. On Wednesday afternoon, Fed Chair Janet Yellen holds a news conference, with her every word scrutinized for hints about when the Fed will raise its rates.

U.S. equities opened Tuesday's session lower, with the Dow Jones industrial average shedding more than 100 points. Click here to see what the markets are doing now.

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"We were among the weakest countries in the world in February, which is why it's so funny when we talk about what the Fed is going to do if they're data-dependent. We're building fewer homes than we did when we had half this many people in this country," Cramer added. "It's worrisome."

Nevertheless, Cramer said falling gasoline prices help the central bank's case for a rise in interest rates. "That's really what makes retail and restaurants so great." Average gasoline prices in the U.S. have dropped to $2.416 per gallon from $3.523 a year ago, according to data from