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"In the old days, the averages would've plunged on this kind of oil shock. I know because I've lived through a bunch of them, starting in 1973," Jim Cramer says.Mad Money with Jim Cramerread more
Everywhere Jim Cramer goes, people ask him if the U.S. is headed into a recession. And then he hears other whispers, saying that the Fed feels the need to raise rates and maybe it will happen in March.
"When you look beyond the market's tight linkage to the price of oil, the idea that we could be headed into a recession has become a powerful theme, a whispered undercurrent in this environment that surfaces whenever oil takes a dive," the "Mad Money" host said.
In fact, Cramer thinks the two separate conversations should be combined together to say, "We are going to have a recession and the Fed is going to raise rates right into it."
Or maybe a more cynical approach would be to say that the U.S. is going to have a recession because of the Fed, Cramer said.
Cramer is hearing the chatter of recession everywhere. Recently, he spoke with Ford CEO Mark Fields, who basically said his biggest fear is that investors could talk themselves into a recession. Given that his stock sells at just five times earnings and has a 6 percent yield when the special dividend is included, it was obvious to Cramer that he is not the only one fearing a recession.
And if autos are peaking and starting to slide down, that could also be a slowing driver of the economy and a real reason behind a recession.
In the housing group, Cramer was encouraged when he heard positive news on household formation from Home Depot. But then the new home purchases for January came in far below expectations.
Read more from Mad Money with Jim Cramer
Then there is oil, which has been in a bear market for a long time. "I know there aren't that many people in the oil business and it really only impacts nine states negatively, but recessions are about confidence and when you read the stories about the woes of the oil companies and those that lend them, you really don't feel much confidence being inspired," Cramer said.
As for the political landscape, it seems to Cramer that the Republicans are all trying to outdo one another about how poorly the U.S. is doing as a nation. After all, they have to since they are running against Democrats, who currently run the White House.
Cramer also saw recession signals in the decline of interest rates, with the 10-year Treasury down to 1.7 percent.
Even with all of these sign, it seemed to Cramer that the chatter from Fed governors remain oblivious.
"I almost wonder if they live in a vacuum. Who are they talking to? Don't they at least have some buddies who are concerned about a recession? Don't they know some people are pulling back from investing?" Cramer said.
As long as the Fed governors remain upbeat, Cramer expects more days on the market ahead that will be down, not up.
Ultimately, Cramer thinks the Fed is making a mistake, and maybe those bullish officials of the Fed that think the economy is ready for a rate hike should get outside more because they aren't in touch with what's on everyone else's mind.