Enough with the Bernanke bashing

Within the confines of a totally dysfunctional government, the Fed chief has done what he can.

By Jim Cramer Sep 4, 2012 8:59AM

TheStreet.comEnough Bernanke bashing already. I am sick of it, just sick of it. Let me ask you a simple question: What have the other central bankers done right that makes him seem like such a dope to so many of you?

 

Sure, the Fed chief was slow to recognize the housing bubble that was created by his predecessor's attempts to stoke the economy after the burst dot-com bubble that his predecessor created by never raising margin rates. Sure, he should have cut to the bone in 2008, but commodity inflation was raging.

 

Since then, Bernanke has done his best to get housing restarted -- working; keep retail afloat -- working; and generate some construction of late. This is all within the confines of a totally dysfunctional government that includes the worst partisanship since the Civil War. Does everyone blame him for that, too?

 

Have you ever listened to Congress when it badgers this man? It's insane. Its members know so little that it is a wonder he even stays on the job.

 

In the interim, what have his colleagues done? Let's see, last year, former European Central Bank President John Claude Trichet raised rates twice. That was brilliant! That nailed inflation in its tracks, didn't it? That has to be the dumbest policy move of the decade. The ECB still has not come to grips with its crisis the way much-derided Bernanke has. We would really be calling for those guys' heads. As it is, we had to listen to a totally wrong Fed president from St. Louis, who advocated tightening here at the same time Trichet wanted it.

 

Is that what the Bernanke bashers want? A little solid tightening?

 

How about the Indians? They've done a bang-up job of slowing growth while stoking inflation. Bravo. Much better than Bernanke, no?

 

And let's deal with the Chinese, those so-called brilliant businessmen. Here you have a command economy, no GOP-Democrat fratricide there. They were supposed to have everything figured out. They have nothing figured out other than they know to dump goods into Europe and Europe ain't taking them anymore. That's the real cause of their problems. Is their central bank filled with genius? I prefer Lenin's New Economic Policy. Now, there was a central banker-cum-dictator who knew how to get the job done with maximum slaughter.

 

So I say enough of this already. Bernanke has done what he can. This is all on Congress and President Barack Obama. And if you want the world's economy jump-started, I think the German Supreme Court is more important than Bernanke.

 

Lay off him. That's an order.

 

Random musings: I'm thinking Facebook (FB) is really losing out to Twitter in part because of the latter's mobile apps. I like using Twitter more on mobile than on the desktop, in part because Facebook is trying to trick you into clicking on ads, which makes it so younger people will leave in droves. I liked Facebook as long as the migration from desktop to mobile was slow, and I was counting on that. But it turned out to be lightening-like, and that's why the numbers are slowing so badly. Happened on a dime, right around when Peter Thiel put in his sell order. Remember, as I wrote at the end of "Confessions of a Street Addict," it is better to be lucky than to be good. It was dumb luck that caused the sell program to be entered just when the desktop faded and mobile took off, wasn't it? Wasn't it?

 

Jim Cramer 

 

Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust has no positions in the stocks mentioned.

 

 

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109Comments
Sep 4, 2012 2:17PM
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I completely agree with everything written but the first person in the media (not counting the different Federal Reserve Bank Presidents) to criticize Bernanke was Cramer with his on-air rant saying "they know nothing!! Nothing!!" in reference to the Fed. I hope the Germans relent and turn the ECB into a real governing body for the stock market's sake because if they don't get ready for another flash crash. As for over here, the GOP Congress needs to be gone forever. They are useless.

Sep 4, 2012 2:16PM
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@#$% you, Cramer-you have the integrity and honesty of a used cars salesman-I trust you about as far as I can throw Chris Christie!

Sep 4, 2012 2:07PM
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Cramer still drinking the Koolaid.....wait a couple of more years when it's all said and done and we'll see how good Bernanke did. Calling it now is a joke! What an ****
Sep 4, 2012 2:00PM
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Cramer won't be satisfied until his grinning mug is on the cameo of the dollar bill.  Maybe someday, but it's not worthless just yet.
Sep 4, 2012 1:57PM
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Cramer............... YOU KNOW NOTHING.......... NOTHING
Sep 4, 2012 1:55PM
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@ truth and honesty,

Lets try a little of that shall we? When you buy a house (as you use as an example) if your SMART, you buy a house that you can afford, that will go up in value (so as to be an inflation hedge), and you maintain it properly so that it will serve you well for decades. You don't spend your mortgage money on extravagant vacations and generally living beyond your means. While it's good to donate to charities you would not give your mortgage money to them, you would give from discretionary funds knowing that your employer is not going to give you more money just because you squander your income.
The American people in general have always known that the govt. needs to borrow money for infrastructure and unforeseen expenses and don't have a problem with that as these expenditures have a return.
BUT the U.S. has gone deeply in debt with one folly after another. 2 recent "wars" and counting that have run up the deficit by trillions and have accomplished nothing else. Trillions thrown away on so called "aid" programs to countries that are so dysfunctional they could never be helped. Trillions spent propping up dead companies and bailing out politicians buddies in the financial markets (paying off their gambling debts).
Americans aren't pissed off that the govt. borrows money, their pissed off that their money is being thrown around like confetti at a parade and they have to do without and pay for it .
Then we see Cramer here today telling us essentially that we should just shut up and take it with a smile and say thanky massah sir thanky.

Sep 4, 2012 1:52PM
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Cramer

 

you are knucklehead, you are not in the know.

 

 

Sep 4, 2012 1:40PM
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I am not making this stuff up. The gap between the rich and poor is at it's widest since the roaring 20's. Search it.
Sep 4, 2012 1:38PM
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Yes interest rates are too high. I'm sure if we see Bernanke act, the rates will go even lower and there will finally be a line at the bank. RFLMAO. Even if we did see a line, do you think anyone in the lower or middle class would qualify for a loan ? Do you think the job creators will start hiring ? Is our lack of jobs because the interest rates are not low enough ? It is NOT the interest rates stupid- it is JOBS. It is the evaporation of the middle class.
Sep 4, 2012 1:31PM
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So because Bernanke's predecessors were even worse than him, we should celebrate him ? Hey the economy isn't in as bad as shape as when the sub-prime mortgage debacle hit the fan. We should be running up the stock market to dizzying heights ! Perhaps the 1 % celebrate the actions of Bernanke, as the gap between the rich and poor is increasingly widening. What has the stimulus been- $2 trillion ? Has the middle class seen any of it ? How much cash is sitting on the sidelines ? -but we need more to sit on the sidelines, while the federal banks pay interest on the excess reserve ? That's okay, the government will redistribute the wealth- though they will do nothing to generate wealth. What happens when all of the pie is eaten ? In the meantime, watch the middle class evaporate. Cheers.
Sep 4, 2012 1:18PM
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Bernanke and ilk have done everything they can to inflate currency and increase debt tnat we had yet another credit rating downgrade. The creation of money by keyboard strokes in QE 1 and 2 has done little for unemployment and the economy but  provided welfare for Wall Street and Financials. The stock market is up but the average American is still losing wealth, jobs and homes. After all the major share holders of The Fed Reserve have to look out for theirown  interests mostly.
Sep 4, 2012 1:14PM
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And why should this call for a celebration?  When we have 15% inflation and the only option is to raise interest rates should we then change and celebrate higher interest rates to curb inflation while we watch homes sales sink into the toilet?  Even little me understands interest rates historically in the 5% range seem to offer the most financial stability and growth.  Celebrating anything resulting from these phoney low rates is just that Phoney!  You want to spur growth raise interest rates.  But oh yea Washington DC has backed us into a corner to where we have to have old folks suffer from low fixed rates because the Politicians spent us into oblivion to cover the sins of the rich on Wall Street.  This is nothing to cheer about Cramer. So admit it Cramer your buds on Wall Street and Big Bankers; of which Bernanke is a member in great standing, need prison to help remind them of their responsibility for the sins they committed against the American People.  But oh yea remember you are sooo arrogant like them you assume zero responsibility for what you say and what you have done as well.  Bernanke belongs in Prison!
Sep 4, 2012 1:13PM
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So what I’m hearing you say is that all central bankers over time, regardless of ideology and policy, have done a rather lousy job of stabilizing their Nations economy, including our Fed chairman both past and present.

 

On that I can agree with you. I also agree that many of our politicians have gone from petty and pretentious, to dysfunctional and dumb (a woman can self terminate an unwanted pregnancy by willing it so, -scary stupid)

 

Lastly, I agree that Mr. Bernanke has done all he can do and should do for now. Unfortunately, Mr. Bernanke thinks he and the Fed should do more and soon.

 

Here is the sound bite I wish I heard coming out of Jackson hole, Wy.

“We at the Federal Reserve have given the financial markets and American business all that they need to be successful. We have kept Tier 1 Capital fluid, (Tier 1 is like cat nip to Kramer), it is now up to you. Start lending, start hiring, start building and rebuilding, and if in that process we see problems developing, we will act.”

 

Instead what we got was, “We (the Fed) can do more.” That’s why many of us have a problem with Uncle Ben.

Sep 4, 2012 1:11PM
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JIM, I THINK YOU SPELL IT OUT PRETTY GOOD FOR THE REST OF US LAYMEN, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK.
Sep 4, 2012 1:06PM
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Lets see what my crystal ball says, hmmm' stock market hovering around 13k dow and 1,400 on the S&P. Whitehouse call to Fed. reminding Ben to man the pumps." All hinges on November so keep on it".
Sep 4, 2012 1:00PM
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So what if our deficit is more than our GDP in a year. My mortgage is more than I take in in a year also. How many of you live on a cash basis? People in their 70's and 80's complaining that the US should be debt free like themselves have forgotten that they once took out a mortgage on their home, paid for it for 20 or 30 years and only now own the house and are cash only.

Let's have some rational arguments for a change, shall we? There are very few commenting on here who buy everything with cash, including their home, so let's just stop the ridiculous rationales and false equivalencies. The US government budget (and deficit) has absolutely no comparison to your personal money philosophy or situation.

Let's look at it a different way: What is your total indebtedness compared to your income? The US GDP is around $14 trillion a year. So they could pay off the debt in a little over a year if they did nothing but pay down the debt. Lets also consider that about $3  trillion of that debt they owe to themselves through Social Security obligations the same as if you borrowed from your 401K balance or whole life insurance policy. It is money you owe yourself at that point, not a creditor. So when you remove that from the equation, they could pay off the debt in less than a year. But in reality, taxable income is really all they can use to pay down that debt. Hence the importance of determining who is going to pay what rate. Considering that over the last 10 years, the top 1% have seen their income rise due mainly to the tax cuts enacted in 2001. And the rest of us have paid more and more and seen our real income go down.

(There are some nice easy to read graphs on this page)
from http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/american_income_taxation.htm:

"As you can see the top 1% did indeed receive the largest decrease in their tax burden.  The tax burden was generally shifted to middle and upper middle income receivers by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001."

If you go back to the 50's, 60's and 70's, you will see that taxation was much, much higher on the top earners and we as a nation had some of the biggest increases in GDP that we have ever had. And income inequality was much lower than it is today.

Those that benefit from this WANT you to do their bidding for them. It won't help you, it will only help them. It will also hurt you, because the money has to come from somewhere. But I guess Americans would rather see the disabled and elderly die and all the money go to building a war machine. About 50% of the total budget goes to the war machine, not welfare recipients. In fact welfare only accounts for about 2% of the budget. 

But yet you continue to support the idea that somehow you will get rich but in reality, the chances that you will move up economically are actually going down as a possibility every year. Kind of like a reverse lottery. But there are thousands of brilliant people on here and many sites who swear that they don't want Communism because that would be wrong. Were we a Communist country in the 50's and 60's? As a former Air Force brat who grew up in the 60's and 70's, I can tell you without any doubt that this country is much more like a Communist country now than it ever has been in the past (at least in my lifetime). Why? Because the 1% weren't brainwashing the proletariat to enable their stealing the way they are now. They run the show and you are all their puppets. I learned to question everything and everybody, not accept what someone is trying to ram down my throat. But I guess others are more tractable to 'whatever they've been told' mantra. Think for yourselves. Do some research. Think about it objectively from many different viewpoints instead of the one they are lying to you with. That is what America is supposed to be - independence. That also includes the freedom to believe facts instead of some spin that isn't supported by reality.

Sep 4, 2012 12:56PM
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He's made my coin investments do well, but I'd rather it not have gone this way.
I know he thinks he needs to pump up the GDP, but we have devalued the dollar enough..

Sep 4, 2012 12:47PM
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Line up bankers for your drink. When you get your sip you can finish digging the well and install the fence to keep out the masses. We'll give them 12 ounces a day in return for their life's savings.
Sep 4, 2012 12:38PM
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Being the chairman of the FED is not an easy job.  Make Congress happy, make the President happy, make the consumers happy and make business happy, it is not possible to make everyone happy.  The best thing a FED chairman can do is to pick compromises that both hurt and help people. 

 

The biggest critics of any FED chairman are those who's vested interests are not being met.  If you only have a gallon of water and a thousand people are thirsty, hard choices have to be made and priorities set.  Not everyone is going to get a drink from that gallon of water.

 

The economy is very fragile and not a play thing for politicians who worry more about getting elected than what is going on in the rest of the country. 

 

Bernanke has done his best considering who he has to deal with and the circumstances of the world economy.  I have yet to hear of anyone who could have done better during these hard times.  As a former FED chairman said, I thought that the free market would straighten itself out but I was wrong.

Sep 4, 2012 12:21PM
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Bernanke, like Greenspan, has contributed to the problem not made it better. Now the talk of QE3 is out there and we DO NOT need QE3, our money is worthless enough already. Bernanke needs to be fired!
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