Monday, June 15, 2009

Cramer Praises Bernanke

Ahh... Jim Cramer.

Faithful readers will recall the imfamous Mr. Cramer as the wild eyed, bald headed, investment gonzo-schtick king from CNBC who was utterly eviscerated by Jon Stewart back in March.

If you missed the classic piece, Stewart took Cramer (and CNBC) apart for his bad investment advice which totally missed the market crash. You can see the Steward Daily Show segment that started it all here...

Unabated Cramer has continued on with his investment show (Mad Money) and continues to be pillored for his not-so-prescient stock market advice.

Now comes word that the King of Poor Stock Picks penned an OP-Ed piece in the New York Magazine this past week and once again is going against the flow of popular opinion.

While many (including your faithful scribe) are highly critical of US Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's policies of quantative easing (and the potential they create for high inflation), Cramer hearld's the Federal Reserve Chairman as a vertible saviour. From the New York Magazine article...

"More than Obama, more than Geithner, more than anyone, it is the once-maligned Federal Reserve chairman who has saved us from the second Great Depression. ... I'll just come right out and say it: Ben Bernanke will go down as the greatest Federal Reserve chairman in history. The soft-spoken academic who has toiled in the shadows of his legendarily self-promoting predecessor, Alan Greenspan, will be known as the man who averted the Great Depression Two, a sequel that could have eliminated the United States as a world financial superpower and reduced us to this century's Britain. Make no mistake about the parentage of this success story."

"President Obama pushed through a stimulus plan that will ultimately help the economy later this year, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner chose to adopt Bernanke's strategy of allowing banks to raise money themselves rather than bowing to calls from politicians and pundits to have taxpayers bail them out even more than they already had. But it was the 55-year-old former Princeton professor who spent his teaching career studying how the Great Depression could have been prevented who deserves the bulk of the credit."

"As credit froze and production and stocks plummeted as fast as they had between 1929 and 1932, Bernanke broke ranks with the complacency crowd and the inflationistas and relied on the lessons he'd learned back at Princeton to quickly take interest rates to an unheard-of zero percent. He turned on the Fed's printing presses, forcing dollars into the banking system, and began to buy $500 billion in mortgage bonds to force rates down to stop runaway foreclosures and keep people in their homes. That was the most aggressive policy change in the Fed's history, something that amounted to nothing short of an economic putsch that bridged the interregnum between presidents and continues to this day. And we needed it."

Cramer is a regular writer for New York Magazine and with this article he has provided an astonishing defense of Bernanke and today's central banking strategies. We will wait and see if he changes his tune if Bernanke's "aggressive policy change" produces massive inflation. I wonder how hopeful Cramer will remain if, in reaction to inflation, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker or some other tough guy steps in and raises interest rates through the roof, setting off another slump.

Jon Stewart, I'm sure, has Jim Cramer set on TIVO. Where else does your material write itself?


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