Permabears and Thermonuclear War

Some people are always calling for a market meltdown.
Publish date:

Earlier this decade I was on


"Crossfire" with David Jones, an incredibly nice man who represents the firm of

Aubrey G. Lanston

on TV. Jones is an economist, and he speaks very knowledgeably.

Too knowledgeably.

If you don't know Jones or his rap, he was the biggest bear this go-around, talking the biggest interest-rate boost game ahead of the


meeting. Recently, he seemed to be everywhere, telling us about how we could expect rapid interest-rate boosts and a tougher bias. This man represented the kodiak/grizzly coalition to fake us out of our skins.

Job well done!

I met Jones at "Crossfire" some 7000 points ago on the


(I was in the studio, he on the remote, so I had the edge). The host,

Michael Kinsley

, a partner and friend, goaded us into predicting what was going to happen to the bond and stock markets. I was incredibly sanguine, coming with a bullish rap about how this would be the decade when big money would be made being long. I loved the market and was positively snorting with enthusiasm for it.

Jones talked a hugely bearish game. He saw plummeting markets, and came with an extremely negative outlook. I had been on TV only once before, and my ma had told me that no matter what, you had to be polite and


interrupt. But I couldn't take it anymore. I cut in on always-rigorous Jones and said that indeed, he could be very right

if we were about to have an outbreak of thermonuclear war


The room was stunned. People thought I was joking, I guess. I wasn't. He stuck by his guns.

Sure enough, who is on my box this morning but Jones! Hoo-hah, he's talking about how the Fed may not tighten as much or as fast now. He is saying the odds have been cut a bit. He's not even admitting for a moment how wrong he was.

Great, thanks a lot. News we can use (LOL!).

When my friend

Marty Peretz

and I started

a few years back -- and

Vanity Fair

, he indeed is my friend -- we intended to change the notion of accountability, to hold a lamp up to those who would were wrong with impunity.

I am not holding up a lamp right now at Jones. I am holding up one of those searchlights you see at movie openings. Shining it right in his face. Making him blink -- virtually, if not really.

Unless, of course, Jones knows something about the coming thermonuclear war I don't.

Then he just might be right.

Random musings

: Can you believe how


Herb Greenberg

has been despite this incredible bull market? Look at that track record. If were doing the marketing at

I would be shouting this one from the rafters.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at