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- the Republican debate and
- resolving U.S. debt.
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The Trump Cards Have Been Played
Posted at 1:15 p.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 10
I'm handicapped here. I never like to buy up 200 Dow points, even when it is from a much higher level and therefore a smaller percentage.
But the short base is huge. And who can blame the shorts. Until yesterday the president didn't seem to be able to budge the GOP. But nobody can handle being blamed for Social Security checks being withheld and doctors' payments delayed.
It seems that the Tea Party is very powerful in its ability to terrorize the Speaker of the House into submission, but between the haranguing of the 90-or-so members of Congress who fit the description of small-government stalwarts and the blame of delaying Social Security and Medicare, well, let's just say that trying to trim entitlements is a lot different from not paying them.
I am sure that in some corridors of the Republican Party last night it dawned on the leadership that the challenge isn't from the insurgents once the third rail is played, the challenge is from the Democrats. Even members of gerrymandered districts where social issues rule don't want their government checks delayed.
Now, again, the move is stopgap. The hatred for Obama, I am sure, grows by the day. But once played, you know the Social Security and Medicare cards are on the table and I think that makes it so the debt ceiling debate from now on will be about who wants to delay payments on Social Security and Medicare and not anything else.
I am still trying to figure out if the president and his team either didn't know how to frame this issue initially or just decided to withhold the big guns until the last minute.
Think about it. Until yesterday this was a debate about whether bond holders could be stiffed. It was about hurting Wall Street, China and Japan, the putative owners of bonds. It was about how interest rates could go up if auctions fail. That was easy for the rock-ribbed Republicans to argue with. After all, maybe they don't go up because we would have an instant recession.