CNBC's Jim Cramer on Wednesday called on the federal government to follow through and provide assistance to Boeing and the aerospace industry as the coronavirus continues to upend the American economy.
"It's not a plea for me. It's a plea for the 2 million workers who are in the supply chain," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street."
Boeing on Tuesday said it was seeking at least $60 billion to assist the aerospace industry as it struggles with declining demand due to the coronavirus. President Donald Trump said the same day that he would support Boeing, which also is a top U.S. defense contractor.
Boeing has already been facing significant financial troubles due to the two fatal crashes of its 737 Max plane, which has been grounded worldwide for a year.
But as airlines face steep declines in demand from travelers, they have in turn been cutting costs, including deferring orders for new aircraft. U.S. airlines also are seeking government aid to get through the pandemic-induced slowdown to the tune of more than $50 billion.
Boeing has plans to borrow earlier than expected the full amount of a more than $13 billion loan it secured in January, CNBC reported last week.
"Boeing will run out of money" if it doesn't receive government assistance, said Cramer, who has previously worried about how the company's problems with the 737 Max could spillover into the rest of the economy.
"We must save Boeing so to speak, both from the side that the airlines are going to get money, but if you don't have maybe one of the, if not the most important, company in the country solvent, then I think a lot of things are going to go wrong," Cramer said.
Shares of Boeing hit a 52-week low of $89 intraday Wednesday, putting them down nearly 70% year to date. The stock, which hit a 52-week high of $398 in April, closed the session down nearly 18% at $101.89.
Chicago-based Boeing said any government funding it receives "will be used for payments to suppliers to maintain the health of the supply chain." It has around 17,000 suppliers.
Cramer said the government should take stakes in the companies to which it provides financial assistance. That includes not just Boeing but also for airlines, he said.
"I prefer investments. If not investments, then payments to the employees and then let the shareholders kind of scramble," Cramer said.
If the government provided money to Boeing and received a 25% stake in the company, for example, once Boeing was able to stabilize and overcome its challenges, "then it's going to be the greatest investment the American government ever made."
"You've got to be really creative here," he added.