Jim Cramer and Alix Steel talk about the Fed and why Ben Bernanke's hands are tied. Below is a transcript of the video conversation.
Alix Steel: Jim, I wanted to hear your take away from the Fed meeting and Ben Bernanke's press conference. Jim Cramer: Right. Alix Steel: You wanted a decision. I don't think you got it.
Jim Cramer: Well, I mean I think that what really hurt the market was when he said, 'yes, it's true that money funds could be hurt by Greece and yes Greece is very significant.' And we all knew it was significant but we didn't expect to hear it from the Fed's Chairman. I noticed that's when futures really started selling off. A lot of people said that they were disappointed but didn't take any action while he was first initially talking. We not used to a fed chief that speaks in plain language. The market doesn't like that. The market likes its fed chief to be opaque. He kind of decided to go transparent and it looks like the stock market likes opaque. My take is that Bernanke is doing a good job. He's really hated right now. People feel that he's been ineffective. And they felt it was a dodge that he said he solved deflation. I think, I think deflation was a very big issue cause if you study the...remember, he was just trying to not have the 1930's. He would have loved to have job growth like they had in Brazil, or they had in India or China but that would have been Congress and the president doing the right kind of thing to help the economy. And we did the wrong thing. We worried about healthcare and put a big tax on the country from healthcare and then we worried about financial regulation. And because of those, what I thought was misguided, of which I was attacked endlessly, actually behind the scenes by the administration, which is fine, I'm fair game. I am a cable host. There is without a doubt a recognition that that was the wrong priorities but no one wants to say it out loud. And that's why Bernanke's hands are tied.
Alix Steel: Do you think that will restrict him from quantitative easing three and should they even do it? Jim Cramer: They shouldn't do it. You know, the government's got to reign in spending. I mean, I wish he had said that. I wish he had made the quid pro quo, which is that if you cut the defense spending, you cut the entitlements, you know, there's room for more accommodation but they have to...you know Congress has to be serious and they're just jokers.
Alix Steel: But Bernanke did seem to be relatively flexible, I mean, if inflation stays low and unemployment stays high... Jim Cramer: Well, he did say 2012 is going to be better and he hinged on two things which Japan coming back and oil going down. And that's the same thing that FedEx said, so I think it's kind of funny. Oil and Japan are the things that really clipped GDP. And there was no way that the Fed could make up for this.
Alix Steel: So then real quick in terms of your portfolio, did you reshuffle around then? Jim Cramer: Well, you know, look, you want to own, we've been scaling back on the commodity plays. And you want to own the consumer plays. And I think that you can't big enough the consumer plays. You got to be very careful, like Treehouse which couldn't get its price increases through in time. Philip Van Heusen did get their price increases through in time. You have to see who got their price increase through. Alix Steel: And will benefit even more now. Jim Cramer: Yes. Exactly. Like the rails. Alix Steel: Right. Alright. Thanks Jim.