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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We're on the cusp of an economic boom in this country, Jim Cramer said on "Mad Money" Thursday, but only if those in Washington get out of our way. He said America has an incredible opportunity to reassert itself as a global leader in technology, natural resources and finance -- but only if Washington will give us a budget deal. Enough with the selfishness and the rhetoric and the hard-line positions! At this point, any budget deal, even a bad one, will be seen as a good one for America, he said. Cramer said he's willing to pay more in taxes because he's grateful for all our country has given him, and that's the attitude that Washington needs to adopt -- shared sacrifice. How well could America be doing? Cramer said that even Europe, which has slid into a perpetual no-growth mode, is seeing its stock markets performing better than ours. "How is that possible?" Cramer asked. He said there was clearly an explosion of earnings bubbling up before the rhetoric in Washington began because our country needs more office buildings and homes and cars and it has the cheap, clean energy and the technology to make it happen. We only need Washington to compromise already, Cramer concluded, and then we'll see what America is really capable of.
Executive DecisionIn the "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Tom Farrell, president and CEO of Dominion Resources ( D), a utility with a 4% yield that's now looking to build a liquified natural gas export terminal in Maryland. Farrell said he's not surprised by a recent Department Of Energy report that gave its blessing for such an export terminal. He said the more natural gas America exports, the better off it will be. Farrell explained that Dominion is already in a terrific position to make this project happen as the company already has a pier on the Chesapeake Bay that supports tankers, as well as 50 billion cubic feet of storage on site and pipelines that run directly to the Marcellus and Utica shale regions. All that's needed, said Farrell, is a liquifier, which will cost between $2 billion to $3 billion.
Farrell was also quick to note that current customers of Dominion will not bear the burden for the new project because it will be funded by a separate subsidiary. The terminal will create 7,000 jobs on site and another 15,000 throughout the region, said Farrell, and will be a big economic boon for Maryland. Cramer praised Dominion for being a remarkable utility that now has given investors one more reason to like it.
Action Alerts PLUS holding and explain what's really going on. Cramer said the decline in Apple is all about taxes because tax rates on capital gains will be heading higher as of Jan 1. That means investors would be prudent to lock in their gains now, at lower rates, rather than wait and pay higher rates on Jan. 2. But what happens after Jan. 2? After the tax-related selling is over, Cramer said, Apple's technology, rather than its technicals, will once again be in control as investors realize sales of iPhones and iPads are on fire and this great technology company is trading at the lowest multiple in all of the S&P 500. Four weeks from now, said Cramer, everything that is against the stock now will be in its favor, and only then will shares resume their trek higher.
The Apple of His EyeWhat happens when investors don't understand what they own? When they let fear control their decisions instead of opportunity? You get the stock of Apple ( AAPL), said Cramer, a stock that's become a de facto barometer for the entire market. That's why he took a few moments to dive into this
Lightning RoundIn the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on eBay ( EBAY), CenturyLink ( CTL), Sandstorm Gold ( SAND), SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD), Abbott Laboratories ( ABT), Starbucks ( SBUX) and Commerce Bancshares ( CBSH). Cramer was bearish on Hess ( HES) and Annaly Capital ( NLY).
Building a Better CompanyIn a second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Tom Sullivan, chairman and founder of Lumber Liquidators ( LL), a housing-related stock that's up 200% so far this year, trading just six points off its high after an earnings beat of 12 cents on a 12% rise in same store-sales.
Sullivan said Lumber Liquidators offers customers several advantages over traditional home improvement stores -- a wider selection of products, a more knowledgable staff and prices that are up to 50% less. The company supports both do-it-yourself projects and can provide provide installation services. Sullivan noted lumber is in great supply and getting enough product has never been an issue for his company. He said the decision to slow store growth was made to "get it right," and Lumber Liquidators is revamping many of its locations to offer more tools and accessories to help homeowners complete their projects easier. When asked about the recession, Sullivan said Lumber Liquidators still saw a good amount of business but did notice that many homeowners chose to do smaller projects or do bigger ones in stages over time rather than an entire house all at once. He said his company's Bellawood brand is now known nationwide. Cramer said Lumber Liquidators is an under-recognized company that is directly tied to the return of the housing market.
Justice For AllIn his final "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena Retail ( ASNA), a retailer with five brands including Justice, Maurice's and Dress Barn. Jaffe said Ascena is difficult for some analysts to understand because they always seem to focus on the brand that is struggling the most and tend to ignore those that are doing well. He said in the case of Justice this quarter, the chain initiated a new promotion that drove a lot of incremental sales but did so at slightly lower margins. At the end of the day, Jaffe noted that Justice made more money but the analysts were focused solely on margins. Jaffe said that in fashion you'll never get your merchandise 100% right, and sales at Dress Barn, for example, are not back to their pre-recession levels. That said, he noted Ascena is taking share from retailers including Kohl's ( KSS) and Wal-Mart ( WMT) in certain categories. When asked about his company's acquisition of Charming Shoppes, Jaffe said it's working on integrating both companies and will be keeping the Lane Bryant brand but will also be winding down the Fashion Bug brand.
Finally, when asked about whether same-store sales are still relevant in an increasingly online world, Jaffe said they are. His company and others are moving towards a more omni-channel world where customers can buy online and return in store or buy online and pickup in store. Cramer called the recent weakness in Ascena a gift for investors and a great opportunity. To sign up for Jim Cramer's free Booyah! newsletter with all of his latest articles and videos please click here. To watch replays of Cramer's video segments, visit the Mad Money page on CNBC. -- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C. To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt Follow Scott on Twitter @ScottRutt or get updates on Facebook, ScottRuttDC