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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Has America gotten frugal? Jim Cramer asked on Mad Money Wednesday. Cramer said it appears Americans now have changed since the Great Recession of 2008, just as our grandparents did after the Great Depression.
Higher inflation numbers have always been met with rising interest rates, Cramer said. Yet, after today's red-hot inflation number was released, interest rates actually fell to their lowest levels since the fall of 2013. How can that be?
Cramer said it appears the historical linkages have been broken post-2008 because our behavior has changed. The American consumer is still afraid. Borrowing remains low, home buying is down, couples are having fewer children, children are living with their parents longer -- all signs the nation has simply gotten more frugal.
Yet, all around us, things continue to get better, Cramer said. The U.S. federal deficit is shrinking thanks to increased taxes, and the Federal Reserve is tapering its bond-buying program monthly. Corporate profits are up, mergers and acquisitions are on a tear, unemployment is falling. All of these are signs to buy stocks, not flee into bonds.
Cramer said investors need to use this artificial weakness to take advantage of these discounts in the markets. Eventually, these discounts will begin to dissipate.
Investors looking to find out what really went down during those darkest days in 2008 need to pick up a copy of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new book Stress Test, Cramer told viewers. He said the book offers a detailed look at what went wrong, what was done and the reality of what happened behind the scenes of the worst financial crisis to hit the U.S. since the Great Depression.
Cramer said there is a lot that can be learned from Geithner's accounting of events, not the least of which is that prior to 2008 the financial statements provided by the big banks were essentially meaningless. Even the regulators weren't able to decipher the massive wrongdoings.