After a patriotic three-day weekend, and perhaps more importantly to him, a downswing in the market, Jim Cramer’s barometer has once again swung right, as he came out with a piece this morning titled “Obama’s Agenda vs. Expanding Business”. With a title like that it can hardly be a bad thing, so let’s dig in.
“Is it time to ask whether the Obama agenda could be hurting and not helping the business of this country?” Cramer begins. Well, frankly, no, it’s actually way past that time, but better late than never I suppose.
As Cramer often does when he’s trying to build an argument for something, the column takes on the form of a point by point list of what might be going wrong.
Number one on the list, union card check, and its less-noticed sidekick, forced arbitration. Cramer makes the stunning (-ly obvious) observation that stronger unions are bad for business profitability. He does borrow a good quip from a Morgan Stanley analyst: “Look for the union label… and sell.”
Number two is the tax on health benefits. Cramer seems to have forgotten all about Obama’s grandstanding pledge against raising any kind of taxes on the non-wealthy, enigmatically call this “a tough one” but still admitting that any kind of tax increase means less money for consumers to spend in the economy.
Number three, the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler. Cramer is just now cluing into the pattern that bankruptcy is leading to ownership by the government and the unions, and even goes so far as to use the term “confiscation” to describe it. But having gone that far, he backtracks a bit, saying total liquidation and complete job loss could have been in play had government not stepped in. Which, I guess that’s technically one of those “you can never know” things, but surely that kind of vacuum in the auto industry wouldn’t remain unfilled for long.
Number four, what he calls “The EPA carbon dioxide rules”, but later clarifies with the popular term for them, “cap and trade”. Astonishingly, Cramer cites Spain’s disastrous green agenda as a harbinger. Jim, level with us, have you been listening to Rush and/or Sean on the sly?
Number five, the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. Again, amnesia about the no-tax pledge. Cramer focuses specifically on the reduced tax rate on dividends that would go away, by way of arguing that this would hurt the stock market directly. Cramer here argues that a recovery of the stock market itself will spur economic recovery. Honestly I think he has that somewhat backwards, but either way he’s in the ballpark at least.
Number six, taxes on foreign earnings of US companies. Cramer does not cite Tim Horton or any other examples of where this is already happening, but he considers it “logical” that companies would move their headquarters out of the country, and he makes his firmest statement of the column: “This must be stopped”. If a way remains to do so, that is.
Finally, number seven, lightening up on illegal immigration. Yes, Cramer went there. Of course, Cramer only touches the economic issue (citing the recent case of American Apparel) and not the more basic question of what is the point of having laws we not only don’t enforce but actually reward people for breaking, but I’ll give him credit for even trying to take a position many would have us believe makes you an instant mortal enemy of anyone named “Garcia”.
All in all a very nice list of crimes being perpetrated against the economy by this administration, but there’s a stinger in the Money Quote (emphasis mine):
“It’s a brutal list for profits even as it is apparent that most Americans support it.”
Obviously we here at RedState would beg to profoundly differ with that last part, yet I’m sure Cramer has his own methods of gauging sentiment for Obama’s agenda. Which tells me we have a long way to go yet in this fight, not that we didn’t know that already, and a messenger to his fellow Democrats whose reliability swerves as often as (and usually in concert with) the stock market itself.
But we can only make do with what we have. Hang on people.