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Jim Cramer fills his blog on RealMoney every day with his up-to-the-minute reactions to what's happening in the market and his legendary ahead-of-the-crowd ideas. This week he blogged on:
  • financial survival,
  • tech's failure, and
  • the possibility of recovery.
Click here for information on RealMoney, where you can see all the blogs, including Jim Cramer's -- and reader comments -- in real time.


Forget Punishment -- This Is About Survival

Originally published on Monday, Sept. 29, at 9:59 a.m. EDT

Let 'em all go. Let 'em take the hit. Let 'em go under.

I hear it over and over again. I keep hearing it: Let all of the banks go.

And it makes me sick.

It is time to recognize that the banks are the economy. It is time to recognize that this plan was the best thing we could have because we were going to see, and could still see, a total collapse in the economy.

We can be as punitive as we want. We were totally punitive when it came to Lehman. We let them have it, right in the kisser. We really showed them. We really hurt them and their recklessness. And the aftermath of that deliciously punitive action is a worldwide meltdown such that this plan cannot be put into place fast enough. The plan now has so many strings that many banks that should participate in it now won't -- it might be easier to run a bank in a really risky way, plunder it, and hope to get away with it rather than negotiate a sale of it.

Somehow we delude ourselves into thinking that the goal is to punish the wrongdoers or assure that it will never happen again, as if somehow the crisis is past and we didn't just lose Washington Mutual ( WM) or Wachovia ( WB) and are about to lose other obvious ones that I don't even have to name anymore. The notion that somehow we can punish while we are still trying to fix this situation is just ridiculous.

So, here's an optimal outcome: Most of the banks quickly collapse in the country. We devolve quickly to a Fortress Four: Bank of America ( BAC), JPMorgan ( JPM), Wells Fargo ( WFC) and U.S. Bancorp ( USB), plus perhaps Citigroup ( C) after this Wachovia debacle. All the others are allowed to fail. We then make it so that deposits are insured up to $2 million, and beyond that a fee scale gets put in to insure large corporate depositors.

Then we shut everything else down and start over with transparency.

We handle the job losses as best as we can, try to contain them to 15% to 20% of the economy; credit will be virtually nonexistent, because other than the banks above, few people willing to put their money in Treasuries.

And all the bad actors will be punished! Along with all of the good actors, of course!

Now there's some justice!

I hope everyone will be very, very happy that the bad actors got what they deserved.

It should bring a smile to everyone!

At the time of publication, Cramer was long JPMorgan.


Tech: All Talk, No Profit

Originally published on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 11:09 a.m. EDT

The strange love affair with tech for so many of our readers is a tad unnerving to me. With the exception of Apple ( AAPL) and Google and, for a while, Research In Motion ( RIMM), for most of this century tech has done nothing, made you no money, created no value.

But the love affair persists, and I find it quite bizarre. What's the point of it? Why do we focus, for example, endlessly on Apple, when for all we know Steve Jobs is sick and the quarter's as bad as RIMM's?

Why do we focus on Google when, after all, it is ad-supported and the ad market is in a severe depression. It is a cyclical decline, so when it gets better, Google will take share, but clearly there are better bargains out there.

Nothing even remotely exciting is happening in tech. Microsoft ( MSFT) and Intel ( INTC) have been remarkable duds. There is nothing intriguing about Oracle ( ORCL). I like Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), but only because it is doing a big restructuring because of its acquisition of EDS, and I believe that Dell ( DELL) may be falling apart.

But think of it. What is the case for EMC? For National Semi ( NSM)? For Nokia ( NOK), other than the dividend? For Corning ( GLW)? For Micron ( MU)? For Applied Materials ( AMAT)? For KLA-Tencor ( KLAC)?

I simply do not know what it is other than that the analysts are endlessly bullish and like to move stocks a point or two with their calls.

The out-and-out pointlessness of this seems to be totally lost among viewers and readers. Tech is simply not a place to make money.

But nobody believes it.

The height of strangeness in a strange and bizarre market.

Random musings: This Baltic Freight Index is still signaling world downturn and is pretty much going down in a straight line. China is nowhere to be seen.

At the time of publication, Cramer had no positions in stocks mentioned.


Don't Close the Door on a Recovery

Originally published on Friday, Oct. 3, at 10:24 a.m. EDT

Worried. Worried for the first time about being too negative. We just got an unassisted bid for Wachovia ( WB) that showed that the FDIC rushed to judgment and that things weren't so bad. We are getting the bill that could at least change the landscape of mortgages. We are going to get worldwide interest rate cuts. We have many stocks down below their values, even as earnings estimates are coming down, because of hedge-fund strategies that are pushing down the good with the bad.

We have many flush companies that are ready to put money to work if the CEOs feel better about the environment. We have a new president coming. And we have Doug Kass pointing out that everyone is negative as he wants to rent longs.

One thing is for certain: Things are awful. That's why the VIX is off the charts, and the new lows are incredible, and the mistrust is the worst I have ever seen.

But what happens if China comes back? What happens if Wells Fargo ( WFC)/ JPMorgan Chase ( JPM)/ U.S. Bancorp ( USB)/ Bank of America ( BAC) can loan? What happens if we are caught short and negative on everything?

What happens if Citigroup ( C) buys Nat City ( NCC)? What happens if Goldman Sachs ( GS) buys a bank or two? What happens if it turns out there is money that wants to have a little risk?

Usual caveats: Things are awful. Let's use the example of Freeport-McMoRan ( FCX). Copper is at a two-year low. There's no sign of a bottom. Gold is going down. The company's businesses are all headed lower.

But the stock was down 60%, and the dividend was at 4.5%.

Are the earnings down 60%? Maybe. But I would think they have to swing to a loss to take this stock to the $30s and 5% yield.

I am picking on FCX because it's unlike so many stupid companies that spent everything on buybacks. I could be picking on Nucor ( NUE) because it has a 3.5% yield and was just downgraded by Merrill Lynch from buy to hold.

There's too much reaction. NUE just dropped 40%, and now it comes off the list?

That just doesn't seem right either.

I have advocated that every rally should be sold. Maybe it's time to be more flexible?

Just a thought.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Freeport-McMoRan, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.
Jim Cramer is a director and co-founder 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 Action Alerts PLUS. Watch Cramer on "Mad Money" weeknights on CNBC. To order Cramer's newest book -- "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer)," click here. Click here to order "Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Rich," click here to order "Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World," click here to get "You Got Screwed!" and click here for Cramer's autobiography, "Confessions of a Street Addict." While he cannot provide personalized investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback and invites you to send comments by clicking here.

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