Cramer: Should you celebrate or fear the all-time high?

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

With stocks trading at all-time highs, Wall Street is bracing for what may be an inevitable showdown between bulls and bears.

Rally skeptics continue to argue that it's just a matter of time before Fed tapering sends the market whooshing lower. They believe stocks are about to give back a significant percentage of gains and therefore they think buying at or near highs is a recipe for failure.

Cramer, however, sees the market differently.

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The Mad Money host believes that in order to determine whether the advance is something to celebrate or fear, it's important to understand what drove market lower after the last all time high in 2007.

"I want you, for a moment, to consider investing like war. In war there are broad issues of fighting, strategic issues where fates are in play. And then there are tactical issues where you have committed to a strategy but you need to execute it in a different way," Cramer said.

In other words, last time around strategic issues were behind sell-offs in the market. For example, there were concerns that banks could fail and the business environment could shift substantially.

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By contrast, today, Cramer thinks selling is tactical. "Pros are taking profits, they're trimming gains and moving money from one sector to another," said Cramer. But all these decisions are being made in the context of having the dry powder to get more aggressive.

Since the last all-time high, "We have weathered bank failures, high unemployment, European recessions, a vicious Chinese slowdown, and most recently the collapse of the emerging markets," Cramer said. Those were all strategic issues but they didn't take down the market. Instead, the selling that happened across these events was tactical –profit taking ahead of the next redeployment of funds.

And Cramer sees no reason for that broad trend to reverse. Therefore, Cramer thinks stocks remain a buy. Even at all-time highs, Cramer anticipates new money going to work in the market and as a result he expects a significant advance in the days ahead.

That's not to say the market may not be overbought, currently. It well may be. "Clearly the easy money has been made," Cramer said, "but there's plenty of harder money to go around and I believe all-time highs – they are still ahead of us. "

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