We're used to getting plenty of criticism on the show, about stocks, about various antics and ad hominem attacks, but I think I've found the first instance of someone going after Jim Cramer for being insufficiently informed on the subject of Marxist literature.
Prominent left-wing blogger Matt Yglesias claims Jim was misquoting both Barack Obama and Vladimir Lenin when he criticized Obama for saying, "There is a time for profits and bonuses. Now is not that time."
Jim said that line was right out of Lenin's "What Is to Be Done," his game plan for building a Communist Party in Russia, and critique of non-Bolshevik forms of communism. I never expected to get into this kind of thing on the Voice of Cramerica blog, but I can't let this attack on Jim's Leninist cred stand.
First of all, Obama did use that line. Maybe our usually eloquent president chose his words poorly, but telling us there will be a time for profits, and now is not it, certainly sounds like something torn from the pages of Marx or Lenin. So there was no misquotation there.
But more importantly, at least from my perspective, Jim didn't take Lenin out of context. In "What Is to Be Done," Lenin, among other things, criticizes communist theoreticians for focusing on raising living standards and increasing the income of the working class (this is called "economism," by the way), rather than advocating wholesale socialist revolution. In addition, there are plenty of offhand attacks on bourgeois ideology. Lenin's goal in this book was to explain how to build a Communist Party in Russia that would get his country to a time for no profits and no bonuses. Sounds right to me.
Now, one quick note about politics. For years we would crack jokes about how the George W. Bush's administration was the total incarnation of rapacious late-stage capitalism. We would say that the anti-trust division of the Justice Department was being leased to Commerce for the duration of Bush's term. Now the Democrats are in power, and we make jokes about the Bolsheviks storming the Winter Palace. Sometimes Jim is being more serious than others, but can we please get used to a little levity?
Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at TheStreet.com during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Richand Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like.
Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.
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