Jim Cramer proves time and time again to be such a tease. Every time it looks like he’s going to crack in his lifelong support of the Democrats, he always finds a way to rationalize and/or ignore his way out of the issue. Last night’s tirade may well similarly come to nothing in the end, but it’s worth munching a bag of popcorn over.
The bee in Cramer’s figurative bonnet this time is an issue that’s been a bit under the radar here, but is no less typical of Obama’s hamfisted approach to economics. Specifically, the president is "weighing" the possibility of requiring banks to get federal approval on each and every home foreclosure .
Not that anybody reading this will need help seeing what’s wrong with that, but with Cramer having an audience from a broader political spectrum, he proceeds to spell out a few things. For starters, he points out that banks take no pleasure in the foreclosure process, what we may have learned from The Dukes of Hazzard nothwithstanding. (No, he doesn’t use that example, but wouldn’t it be cool if he had?)
Cramer does stumble a bit in my view, in his assertion that "the problem isn’t the loans… [it’s] the jobs". For one thing, why can’t the problem be both? Admittedly, job loss is the usual reason for people falling behind on mortgages, but — and I speak from personal experience here — it’s a lot easier to get out from under a stretch of unemployment or underemployment if you have an equity cushion to work with or, in the worst case, sell your house for more than you owe on it. Also, he doesn’t actually spell out what Obama should do about "jobs". Even Cramer should realize by now that leaving "what to do" open to Obama’s designs rarely ends well.
But one thing Cramer can’t and doesn’t miss is Obama’s pattern of alternately "paying lip service" to an industry and then turning around and bashing it. Even he grasps that while this might be good politics, it’s horrible policy.
I don’t know that Cramer’s proposal, having HUD sit down with Wells Fargo (the bank he’s decided is most "on top" of the mortgage issue) and hash out something would actually get anywhere, but at this point any allowance of business input into the way they are regulated would be a refreshing change.
No money quote this time. Or actually, the quote is in the title. It says it all.