Monday marked the eighth anniversary of Jim Cramer's infamous rant about how the Fed knew nothing about the subprime market and how that lack of knowledge would cause systematic risk to the financial system. Looking back at his 2007 rant, the "Mad Money" host wonders if things have really changed.
"Sometimes, it is just about being in the game long enough to know people in high places," Cramer said. (Tweet This)
At the time, the Fed was so out of touch that it scoffed at Cramer's remarks. Two years ago the Fed released its meeting notes from that time, and Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart was quoted as undermining Cramer's commentary in the minutes.
Cramer passionately felt that the market was going to stop functioning and investors couldn't afford not to interfere. And sure enough, that is exactly what happened.
"Now, I give the Fed credit that it changed dramatically and helped save the financial system. I have nothing but respect for Ben Bernanke and for current Fed Chief Janet Yellen, and they, empirically, have shown great judgment keeping rates low," Cramer added.
In Cramer's opinion, the Great Recession is still very much on the minds of investors today. All it takes is one event overseas or a strengthening of the dollar to rattle the market and cause investors to be more risk adverse.
However, the foundation did manage to stay in place. Big banks weren't nationalized, the recession did not transform into a depression and Cramer credits Bernanke for avoiding that horrible possibility.
So this begs the question—how did Cramer know it was about to happen and how did the Fed not?
After a lot of reflection, Cramer found the reason in his background. Unlike many people of the Fed, Cramer actually comes from the industry. So, while the Fed has a lot of people with strong backgrounds and academic skills, the epicenter of the problem was the banking industry and that is where Cramer came from.
On the outside, it looked like a housing crisis, but Cramer knew that many of the mortgages were fraudulent or insanely overvalued and were being packed by major Wall Street firms to be sold to hedge funds to make higher returns than the bond market.
How did he know that?
"Because the top people who were running these firms were of my vintage. They grew up with me, graduated with me, or traded with me at my hedge fund. They worked alongside me or competed against me," Cramer said.
These same people came to Cramer and asked him to talk about what was really happening because they couldn't get through to the Fed, trusted Cramer more than the Fed, or feared the Fed's regulators.
It all came down to information, and Cramer simply had better information. (Tweet This)
Cramer was highly emotional during his rant because his sources were highly emotional. They rightfully feared for their firms and feared for the country.
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So, Cramer used the best platform he could to try to get through to the Fed, and his opinion, he failed. He did not convince the overconfident Fed to listen. However, he is grateful that at least he was right.
Has the Fed really changed its ways since then, and do they have the information they need, unlike the Fed back then?
"Let's hope so. They may need them again sometime soon if they make the mistake of starting an aggressive tightening just because it seems on the surface like the right thing to do," Cramer added.