This article was originally published Feb. 24
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"We can get out of this mess," a passionate Jim Cramer shouted at the viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Tuesday.
He said it can happen "with a hopeful, optimistic message that Obama better start talking about tonight!" For starters, he outlined his own two-point plan to fix the economy and deal with the financial crisis.
First, Cramer said the government needs to take control of the banking system, not the banks. He said the notion of nationalizing the banks is not capitalism, but communism. He called any plan to nationalize half baked and poorly thought out, and said it would surely cause another Great Depression.
Instead, he offered his notion of forbearance, in which the banks would issue preferred shares to the FDIC in return for notes backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. With these notes on the books, he said, the banks will have all of the capital and assurance they need to start lending again.
The second point in Cramer's plan calls for keeping homeowners in their homes. He said in order for the government to stabilize house price depreciation and stem foreclosures, it should issue 40-year, 4% mortgages, not just to the deadbeats who don't pay their mortgages, but rather to everyone.
Cramer said it's not enough to just reduce the interest on mortgages. He said the principal must be adjusted, too. To help the banks recover their losses, he proposed issuing certificates of equity with these mortgages that would allow the banks to recapture any lost principal when the house is sold.