From hope to hopeless on budget talks

We have to determine where the market can find firm support on a definite lack of real negotiation.

By Jim Cramer Dec 4, 2012 10:02AM

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Radius Images JupiterimagesIt's going to get old real soon. That's how I am starting to feel about this Washington situation. If neither side is choosing to negotiate in earnest on the fiscal cliff issues, then the market will have to reach a level where everyone has figured out there will be no earnest negotiation, and they aren't selling regardless.


Last week seemed incredibly confusing. On the one hand, there was plenty of talk about how a deal could be reached. I keep thinking about that comment from Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd Blankfein in particular -- the one that said the sides were real close. How could he say that if it weren't at all true? Wasn't it based on something? How about all of those CEOs? Don't they make any difference? We thought they did last week.


On the other hand we have the perception that, if Washington was near a deal, something critical broke down -- because the positions got further apart over the weekend.

What happened in those intervening days, when the business leaders were hopeful and when President Obama went to the Pennsylvania toy factory? Did Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner misjudge things and play too much hardball?

I am thinking like this because it is highly unusual to see a situation go from hope to no hope in three days without anything really changing.


I have to tell you that, behind the scenes, the presidents' people are very certain that there will be a deal -- so certain that it's a bit daunting. Maybe that's what the business leaders were imbibing.


To me, the important thing is how quickly the complete transformation was made. This went from last Wednesday's happy belief that a deal will be struck, to a harder line by both sides Friday, to a total collapse by Monday. That last stage was on the heels of a Republican offer that someone would put out only if they wanted to end talks. Sure, I am certain some people thought Monday's Republican gambit had some substance, but to me it was more of the same.


Get that "total collapse" offer into the market. Figure out where there is no hope -- and then the market will have some firmer footing, which is certainly lacking right now.


JimCramer's face


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 and has no positions in stocks mentioned.  



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Dec 4, 2012 2:24PM

I hope there is no deal. That is good for the economy. It reduces deficit.


I prefer situation where business decisions are made on its ability to provide value to the consumers. It need to get off values based on Government action. And Government should butt our unless its is truly existential issue or really well thought of  security issue.


Government should simplify tax structure so that every one knows what are the rules of the game and get rid of all these special and should enact a law that no special tax incentive.


Beyond that Government should guarantee employment or change from unemployment system that does not work to Employment guarantee system. This will let business and people plan and operate to improve themselves to changing technology.

Dec 4, 2012 2:20PM
I do not see much hope for a compromise, as most Republicans have signed the TAX PLEDGE" and will not back down. So in effect they want to say to all Americans, "It is our way, or no way".  They do not care about the USA, nor do they care that they are in the minority (of all politicians), but with enough votes to stop anything that they do not agree with. These Republicans are like little children that will take the ball and go home if they can not be the pitcher and they cannot bat every other player. We need adults in our government, not people who are fifty going on five!
Dec 4, 2012 2:19PM


The members of the Congress have totally failed to represent the wishes of the American people long ago. They are nothing but a special interest group out to get all they can for themselves.


Without a major change in attitude - "WE THE PEOPLE" - should take our country back by removing every incumbent that is trying to regain their seat in the congress.



Dec 4, 2012 2:18PM
Here is an ideal banging around. The government would create a National Retirement Act. Everyone would be forced into it. What would you be investing in? US treasuries. We would be buying into the national debt with our retirement money. They would abolish IRAs and 401k. Pretty scary!
Dec 4, 2012 2:12PM
More like    "From Hopeless to Hapless"

This has turned into a strutting contest.
Dec 4, 2012 2:11PM
i think obama wants the USA down graded as usul, if he really wanted a budget, it would have been done on the demo's watch 23 years ago
Dec 4, 2012 1:07PM

 Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner need to withhold payment of congressional salaries, health benefits, cafeteria eating credits, and all other perks congress receives to have congress get serious about the problems facing the nation.  Payments should be resumed only AFTER a resolution is found for the fiscal cliff!!???

Dec 4, 2012 1:02PM
Obama used working peoples money to pay non working people to vote to tax working people more so they would get more for less.  He very adeptly convinced many people the enemy for each of us is ourselves. Now I am beginning to think the best that could happen to our country is the worst  that could happen.  Strange times.  At this point this market is out of touch.  And to top the first statement  these Internationals who destroyed this free country by bribing the politicians are wanted by every non free country to develop their economies. Even stranger. Capitalism works when there are rules that are fairly enforced on both sides.  The corruption that we are now seeing come to light and the causal effects of the lieing and disinformation somehow seem normal and a fair result.  We got what we voted for and what we have allowed to flourish. There is nothing to base any appreciation in this market on.  Yes inflation will cause many to hide in the market to not lose money.  Not a positive motivation for investors but one none the less.  But it is a given these Street folks will tell us something anything other than what we all know is true to get us to "play" the market. . All the pressure I see is to lower wages and massive inflation in commodities and yet we are told we are experiencing a housing recovery.  I don't think so.  I still think we are spiralling downward in housing, employment, and this market.  But we all know nothing goes straight up or straight down so common sense should somehow come into play.  Does it?
Dec 4, 2012 12:55PM

So V.L. a business is not to even think about making money it should lose money as long as it doesn't hurt employees? If that is the mindset we are about to take on,Lord help us.Most of the small business owners I talk to are more worried about regulations,and the costs that go with them.Mortgages probably aren't going out like we would like because of stiffer rules-Remember Dodd-Frank we don't want to revisit the late 90's and early 2000's do we? Or would you relax them in an attempt to spur Housing.


Pretty much the fiscal cliff demonstrates the basic problem in our economic system. Prices and wages have gotten too far out of whack.


The US government came up short about $1.8 trillion dollars this year. Yet the goods and services got produced and serviced showing that our workers could get the job done.


The problem is not on the spending side it is on the revenue side.


First the government is paying too much for things which would be solved if they posted every check. if someone found something was over paid by more than 10 percent  they would get 10 percent finders fee and the responsible parties (both the check writer and payee) would be fined the difference between a fair price and the over charged price.


This would bring government spending down to about $1 trillion ayear.


Also the super rich are moving our jobs overseas and do not want to take caree of us as we have no jobs left. The super rich should be stripped of their assets and drop kicked out of the country as economic terrorists. And jobs that have gone overseas brought back to the US.


It's not about money or profit folks. It's about our society pulling together and making sure each of us has a better life and t heck with the selvish super rich who steal our wealth and money for their personal gain.


Our government is super corrupt. over $2 trillion dollars of contracts are handed out to just a hand full of companies for twice even three times what the contracts should be. These companies then donated $6 billion to campain funds for their buddies and get liek $900 billion back in profits.


very very crooked.

Dec 4, 2012 12:41PM
I feel there will be a comprise of some sort to avoid the "financial cliff" as Obama would not want that to happen on his watch.  Unfortunately, I don't feel the solution they come up with will truly solve the problem but rather just push it out further.  If they don't reach an agreement of some type it will be interesting to see how the market reacts.  My guess it will "shrug it off" as Charley Blaine and others like to describe negative news with no negative impact.  The market needs a correction and a good dose of reality.  For the most part, these companies are not growing their business by selling more products or services but rather by continuing to cut cost thru job elimination, plant closings, reduction in employee benefits, accounting loopholes etc. and they then hoard the cash knowing what could be down the road.    
Dec 4, 2012 12:40PM


I smell U.S. downgrade again!



Dec 4, 2012 12:39PM
Do you know what's incredibly confusing, Jim? WHY you would believe that a Goldman Sachs person would tell the truth. When this is done, there are two words that won't exist... Goldman and Sachs. We all know they invented the "complex" in complex financial vehicles which have driven us in the ditch.
Dec 4, 2012 12:36PM

"WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. banks earned more from July through September than in any other quarter over the past six years. The increase is further evidence that the industry is strengthening four years after the 2008 financial crisis. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday that the banking industry earned $37.6 billion in the third quarter, up 6.6 percent from $35.3 billion in the third quarter of 2011. About 57 percent of the banks reported improved earnings, which allowed them to set aside less for losses on loans. And the number of troubled banks fell to the lowest level in three years."


I consider this to be outrageous. Mortgage rates are rock bottom and far less than is required to be in a position to service them. They are making money booking garbage loans and selling them to the Fed in exchange for fresh capital that buries us further in debt. No big business has created jobs or recovered any they severed but all of them have benefited from the issue of fiat funny money and fully manipulated markets. We aren't going anywhere we need or want to be. We don't need banks, we don't need a Federal Reserve and we don't need Wall Street. We need job recovery. Get on it or get out. Leave the wealth, keep the barrel.

Dec 4, 2012 12:29PM

An e-mail to the President:

17 days to go.

Blue Oyster Cult's: Don't Fear The Reaper makes a comeback.

The Fiscal Cliff articles are drawing massive reply comments. Lots of people who would prefer that the rest of us die-- so they can live in false elitist harmony-- blame you. But the majority are getting angry with the culture in Washington. Self-made millionaires on our tax dollars and lobby bribes have to go NOW.

Here is a fact: In 2008, when so many of us were terminated without cause (because our bosses were greedy sociopaths isn't a 'cause')... we had to make a sober choice. Act on our circumstance or be destroyed by it. So many lost everything. So many struggled with lesser or risky jobs and lost. The hearty started up small businesses, you know the odds in venture success. Do you know what NO ONE did? NO ONE signed a damn Pledge to hold a sit-in while their family died. I'm sure plenty thought about visiting their old boss with a shotgun but- violence never solves it only destroys.

The nation will rise up and correct itself... or you can handle this. We aren't going to give the GOP our southern states or succumb to NRA KKK or Evangelistic take-overs. We aren't going over the Fiscal Cliff to die, we are going over to revive our existence as PEOPLE in our own land.

100 MILLION families are waiting on life and the ability to lift our head and carry on. The few who suppress us need to go. That's YOUR job. We are with you, but only you can take the first step.

Dec 4, 2012 11:42AM

A compromise will be reached before Christmas.One of the things that would happen would be deep cuts in the Pentagon.That will never happen.Take it to the bank, about Dec.18th every thing

will be settled.

Dec 4, 2012 10:40AM

4 years ago, Mitch McConnell simply announced their goal was for obama to fail.  and that quote from a marketing-media point of view came back to bite him and the GOP.  now, they are simply continuing to try everything to see "obama" fail.  "as if" there will be some white knight from the GOP in 4 years that will suddenly do remarkable things? 


i'm hearing interesting proposals from both sides on the cliff issues with some corrective changes.  if the idiots could only compromise and arrive at a synergistic result that are better than any of the parts we might see the country respond quite a bit better. 

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