Dodging a Financial Crisis

Jim Cramer, financial populist. Sure beats what the critics usually call him: Park Avenue’s patsy.

At least that’s what the Mad Money host thinks. He started Monday’s show responding to a Newsweek article that frowned on Cramer’s – and other Wall Street pundits’ – call for more rate cuts. A decrease in the Fed funds rate Wednesday might help stocks in the short term, the author Robert Samuelson argued, but it’s not good for the economy over the long run.

“Unlike financial populists, the Fed should focus on the economy's performance in the next six years, not the next six months,” Samuelson said in the Feb. 4 edition of the magazine.

Samuelson claimed Cramer and other business media personalities affect market sentiment, and it’s that sentiment that moves stocks up and down. So when Ben Bernanke gets his cues from “the markets,” he’s dangerously close to following the whims of people who care only about boosting stock prices.

Not to mention, Cramer’s been calling for rate cuts for a year now. So if he had half the influence people say he does, the Fed wouldn’t have needed to make an emergency rate cut in the first place, he said.

The central bank’s hand was forced, though, despite the fact that non-financial companies like United Technologies , Microsoft , Honeywell and IBM are doing well. Industrials, oils, agriculture, infrastructure, rails – anything that can be exported or relates to exports in “on fire,” Cramer said. And they’ll only get hotter – maybe too hot – thanks to those government-proposed tax rebates and more Fed cuts.

But then again, this, too, probably could have been avoided if the Fed had just listened to Cramer.

Questions for Cramer?

Questions, comments, suggestions for the Mad Money website?