NEW YORK (RealMoney.com) -- Here's a compelling question I just got: "Mr. Cramer, didn't you just say we won't have a recession, and now you are calling for a double dip?"
Let's parse this. Before the mind-bogglingly horrible compromise in Washington that took us to the brink, we were doing OK -- not great, not bad. We had some weak numbers. We had some good numbers.
But the damage that was done from the actual talks -- that's right, the actual talks -- was significant. The collapse of any plan in Europe, when we thought that was done, was significant.
I often find that people do not understand the fluidity of a given situation. They think that if the economy is good and you say it is good, and if big fundamental changes occur for the worse, it is just important to stay positive and just not admit, not that you are wrong, but that the facts changed dramatically.
Let me ask you, if we had a grand bargain to cut spending over time and have some taxes raised on the super-rich and came up with a plan to stop the mindless hiking of Medicare costs -- all of which were close to fruition -- do you think we'd have this morass? Do people believe that these events in Washington truly had no impact? That they were somehow in our past and that they didn't cause some damage?
It is so easy, in hindsight, to say, "The government will almost fail, and we will almost not pay Social Security or the military or our bond interest, so sell everything."
I wish I could have seen that coming. But it happened. We almost got there. That's a very big breakdown of a government that people counted on.
In Europe, what can I say? Greece is subprime when subprime just couldn't pay off. We have been lied to and lied to about how bad things are over there.
My bad for not seeing they were lying.
When things got bad last week, we took a
amount of pain for my charitable trust,
. and sold our losers so we could circle the wagons around our winners. We have a huge amount of cash and are slowly deploying it. I am sharing with you what I would have done at my hedge fund, which is buying deep-in-the-money calls on some high-growth stocks, with three-eighths of a position. So if you were going to buy 200 deep-in-the-money calls, you should own 75 calls right here. The notion of deep-in-the-money calls is that you get to play the spring back with a stop out.
I think that works here for those who think it is not the end of the world, circa 2008.
Again, you can look back and say, "Jim, why didn't you foresee this recession?" I come back and say that I didn't foresee a fundamental breakdown of the Republic, but once we got the near-death experience, I changed my mind and said we could have a recession.
It would be so great if I said "Sell 'em all" at the top. It would be terrific if I could say "It is bottoming right here" at the bottom.
But, funny, I am just not that good.
Nor is anybody else for that matter.
So you do things in stages: recognizing the fallibility of both yourself and events.
It really is all you can do.