Jim Cramer, of CNBC's Mad Money fame, is a die-hard and loyal Democrat. Make no mistake about that. But he also has a head for numbers under that big bald forehead of his, and he refuses to pretend when the numbers don't add up, no matter who doesn't like it. And furthermore, he strongly believes in the premise that what is good for business is good for America. A belief that puts him at very steep odds with much of his party.
Cramer was as caught up in the tide of Bush Derangement Syndrome as anyone from his part in the waning days of the last administration. That fact became difficult to believe just two scant months later when he was getting roasted on America's favorite news network (Comedy Central) for telling the president to cool it with the anti-Wall Street rhetoric.
A truce may have been called at the time, but just like a cease fire in the Middle East, it couldn't last. And sure enough, Cramer is -- perhaps a little more quietly this time -- shocked at what he terms, among other things, the "irresponsibilty" of what is being done in Washington.
For my diary contribution to redstate.com I hope to chronicle the expressions of buyer's remorse from a lifelong Democrat. As most of his writings are on a paid-subscription site, I will only be posting excerpts, but that should at least be better than nothing, which most readers would normally have access to.
Today's column, "Washington Roadblock", written at 7:00PM Eastern is a good starting point, as Cramer puts the blame for today's sharp decline squarely on the announcements coming from the administration today.
Again, Cramer is a Democrat, but a practical one:
"You tax health care benefits and raise taxes for the rich when you are sure things are going to get better, but not until then."
He apparently thinks Obama agrees with that sentiment. I'm not so sure, of course. I think Obama is an ideologue who just knows what he wants done and doesn't worry about the consequences.
"It is...obvious that without consumer spending picking up and with tax hikes, the recession will not end in a timely fashion and we will go back to the levels where we just came out of -- i.e., the depression."
I don't know that we were ever really at "depression" levels; I think that was a bit of the hyperbole of the time, but whatever you want to call where we were six months ago, it's hard to argue that going back there = bad.
"I did not see this new round of intervention -- bank pay, health insurance tax -- coming."
And here's the money quote. No, I dare say you did not, Jimbo. But don't feel bad, I hear a lot of big money guys never imagined the man they supported into the White House would be quite so gleeful in ordering their decimation.
"I hoped the tax increases were being modulated. Perhaps I was dreaming."
No kidding. Keep the scotch handy, Crames, it's going to be a bumpy couple of years, at least.