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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's rough out there and only getting rougher, Jim Cramer warned his "Mad Money" viewers Monday as the markets sank again on fears the debt ceiling debate won't be resolved by the Oct. 17 deadline. Cramer told viewers not to pay too much attention to the deadline itself because the actual date our country will stop paying its bills could be as late as Halloween. Instead, investors need to pay attention to the high-yielding dividend stocks, those that offer some protection against a looming rescission, which could indeed be ahead if our country defaults. Make no mistake about it, not paying our debt will upset many foreign investors, said Cramer, not the least of which are the Japanese, who own an estimated $1.2 trillion of U.S. debt. Sure, the Treasury Department could focus on paying only our bonds and little else, but that would surely send our economy into a hard recession. That's why Cramer focused on high-yielding stocks including Dominion Resources ( D), Con Ed ( ED) and Southern Company ( SO), all of which have a long history of paying dividends during hard times. Cramer also gave the nod to drug maker Pfizer ( PFE), Campbell Soup ( CPB) and Altria ( MO), three more high-yielding go-to names during threats of recession. Finally, Cramer likes Verizon ( VZ), which has a strong cash flow to pay its big yield, and Ventas ( VTR), which is seeing its shares down 3% for the year, creating a lot of value. Cramer said any of the recession-resistant growth stocks with great yields would make an excellent addition to your portfolio as the market sinks lower through the end of this month.