What's the difference between fresh market highs and an economic recovery?
It's a question both Wall Street and Main Street have grappled with as the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have touched fresh all-time highs in recent trading amid a recent rise in jobless claims paired with stalled stimulus talks on Capitol Hill.
Jim Cramer said the answer all comes down to understanding the stocks driving the major indices higher.
"You have to look at what made the market high," Cramer said.
Cramer said the stocks leading the market to recent highs have been financial tech, semiconductors, semiconductor equipment, cell phone and semiconductor design. "That's not the economy, that's digitization...none of those companies create jobs; most of them obviate jobs, Cramer said.
When reflecting on these companies, Cramer said Wall Street and Main Street need to note that the common thread is a business-to-business focus, with Apple and the businesses that supply Apple being the one exception.
"When you look at it that way, you are far more willing to understand why we need stimulus and why the disease [COVID] is so devastating," Cramer said.
Cramer has consistently said the stalled stimulus talks are the biggest threat to both the economy and the market going forward.