Rich also chastises me for endorsing Wachovia's stock after then-CEO Bob Steel came on "Mad Money" and spoke positively about the bank. Was I taken in? Yes, and I made a mistake. I apologized both on "Mad Money" and on the "Today Show" for believing in Steel. But others say I have been too hard on myself given that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Steel's appearance on my show for truthfulness. I chalk it up to something different: Sometimes you just get had.
After the White House briefing, Rush Limbaugh defended me as a wayward leftist who has seen the light. I am always glad to have any allies and defenders, but I do favor almost all of Obama's agenda, right down to having the rich pay more of their freight in this great country. It's just not the right time. We need to declare a war on unemployment and solve it before we let it get out of hand. We need to stop house-price depreciation. Neither the pork-laden stimulus plan nor the confusing mortgage proposal put forward by Obama will defeat either enemy. When Obama trounces both unemployment and house-price depreciation, he will have the power to enact anything he wants. But all the initiatives he wants to rush, like tax hikes, changes in health care, tinkering with the mortgage deduction -- good grief, right now in the midst of the worst housing downturn ever -- and the tough cap-and-trade rules, will derail any chance we have of turning this economy around. Instead, they put the Second Great Depression smack on the nation's table. The markets thought he could stop it; hence the giant relief rally when he was elected. But in fewer than 50 days of his ascendancy, the markets' hopes were totally dashed and the averages are now forecasting the worst decline since the Great Depression. As someone who listens to what the averages are screaming, I think they are accurately predicting the future.
I welcome any serious exchange with the administration on the issues that are not beyond my ken: fixing house price depreciation, stopping the destruction of wealth as demonstrated by the stock market's plunge, and solving the banking crisis before we nationalize every bank. (Oh, and memo to Bill Maher: Stop insulting my faux great-great-uncle Vlad Lenin. I am using him to dramatize the point of a failed nationalization and confiscation of the banks at the hands of the people.)
It's time to get serious. It's time to take the issue from the pundits and from the left and right, and put it where it belongs: serious non-ideological debate to put out the real firestorm, the collapse of the economy from Wall Street to Main Street and the ensuing Great Wealth Destruction for all.But if it stays ad hominem, we will all be betrayed and the train wreck will become inevitable. At the time of publication, Cramer was long Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.