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Fall back. Fall back to basic principles. What do people
to do whether they want to do it or not? What do governments have to pay for whether they want something or not? What must be used whether you like it or not?
That's where we are right now in the helter-skelter pell-mell race to take all stocks to single digits as the notion of a worldwide global depression sinks in.
So many of you -- some incessantly, for heaven's sakes already -- have asked me, "Why bother?" or "Why not sell everything?" or "What's the point?" To which I say, patiently, and endlessly, and I'm on record on this, that if you need money for anything important, take it the heck out of the stock market.
As far as I can tell, I am the only one who has said, "Get it out of the stock market," and judging by the firestorm with which it was received -- including a national ad campaign against me -- I can see why people don't do it.
I am reiterating again that it is right. You need that money in the next four-and-a-half years? Go. Sell some. Maybe we get a lift, sell more. We don't get a lift, sell anyway. The market's horrible.
But there is such a thing as asset allocation. You can have 100% of your money in cash, and that's been terrific. For now. You can have lots of shorts on, that's terrific too. For now. You can own some stock and have lots of other assets, like gold and Treasuries and municipals, and that's also fabulous. For now.
The main thing for the stock portion of your portfolio, if there is one, is to think and remember what people have to do to exist. Think also what governments have to do to exist and, if you have to own stocks -- and maybe you don't (so stop reading here) -- you have a better chance of buying a survivor than not.
Mind you, that doesn't mean, "OK, go buy
." It doesn't mean that because the "what must" people buy doesn't mean the stocks making the stuff are cheap. The competition is fiercer than ever. The retailer and the consumer are squeezed and squeezing the suppliers. Think
. Think private label, like
( RAH) before you think Procter & Gamble.
Whatever the government can buy less of or pay less for it will -- the latter is a new thing when it comes to President Obama. That's why
have been decimated and are going to get decimated again. That's why
( GENZ) could be in for trouble along with
and the others that have high-priced drugs that need taxpayer support. It's why I don't trust
Many companies make useful products, but they will not survive in their current form. Too much debt. Too little cash. We will need what
makes for sure. But the way the companies are structured, you won't benefit.
We need cars, but we just don't need
. Or at least all of them, perhaps just maybe two or three of them.
We will shop, but why must we shop at
for that matter? We have Wal-Mart.
And, as always, think both ways. When I say I don't like a stock, you don't have to have me drill it into your head to short it. The opportunities here on the short side are much better than on the long side. Still. I don't think that will change until we repeal all of the gains since the mid-1990s.
Only then will we get to prices where selling may simply not make sense. Right now, shorting makes all too much sense, so selling will certainly make sense.
So, if you don't need stocks now, don't own them. If you can short them, short them. If you have them as part of an allocation, be defensive and diversified. But don't get your hopes up. On Thursday, with this budget, we saw the true colors of this administration.
It wants lower stock prices and less money for the wealthy.
That's never a prescription for a bull market.
At the time of publication, Cramer was long Wal-Mart
Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet.com. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet.com's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO. Outside contributing columnists for TheStreet.com and RealMoney.com, including Cramer, may, from time to time, write about stocks in which they have a position. In such cases, appropriate disclosure is made. To see his personal portfolio and find out what trades Cramer will make before he makes them, sign up for
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