What execs really think about Congress

There is a mistrust of both parties, on and off the record.

By Jim Cramer Feb 5, 2013 10:02AM

thestreet logoUS Capitol Donovan Reese Getty ImagesYou get to talk to a lot of execs at the Super Bowl. A surprising number if you get to the parties about town. It's all off the record. It's all on a no-names basis. But they give it up knowing I won't betray them.


The overall sense of things is: "Phew, Washington didn't screw it up so badly that business is hurt. In fact, with Washington off the front pages we can thrive again."


We talk a lot about confidence and what makes for confidence. I think we should spend more time talking about confidence and what makes for a lack of confidence. There is a mistrust of both parties both on and off the record. Most of the execs I talked to don't understand the Republicans. They tend to work at big companies with lots of different ethnicities and, of course, many women and they are thrown off by the "agenda," as I hear it called almost all of the time. They don't get the personal. They don't want the personal. They don't understand the personal.


I can tell you that most of the major companies just want to do business and they want to do business with businessmen and women who are sensitive to their needs for certainty. Not tax reform. Just certainty.


They have it.


I heard no grousing whatsoever about the new taxes. None. I heard no attacks on the president. I just heard that both parties have gotten out of touch with what it takes to do well.


That said, two themes keep coming back: housing and oil and gas. Those involved in any part of the housing cycle, including retail -- and they were all down there -- speak positively about the state of the American consumer despite myriad headwinds from, yep, Washington. They see loans taken out. They see expansion happening. The international firms are gratified that Asia, not China, but Asia is good and that Latin America is better and that the United States is alright.

But the section of the economy they all want to talk about, even the ones in service businesses, is oil and gas and the amazing renaissance and whether they can harness the fuel of the future, natural gas. The big transport guys are all waiting, watching. They don't want to switch because the natural gas engines are underpowered and often use LNG, which they know the EPA hates because it dissipates into the atmosphere too quickly. They want to try natural gas as a blend with the diesel to save money, but they also know the complexity of the engines is great and the fueling for their trucks, unless they are short-haul. They are all jealous of how well Waste Management (WM) is doing with the fuel-makes it a 2016 proposition at the earliest.


But the manufacturing people? They are saying that it has become so cheap to make things here, and if they can just do more with natural gas they could make something big happen.

The uniform nature of the "goodness" of the energy situation is tempered only by the intransigence of the White House. So many of these executives brought up the Keystone Pipeline as a true colors event because it shows that there may be no fossil fuel blessing in the White House at all except for clean coal technology, which none of them can seem to get to work right.


I don't want to detract from the optimism they feel, the time-to-do-business-again optimism. Their major hope is that the Republican Party stops talking social issues and starts talking business. Only then do they think there's a chance that the next few years can be productive because they know the president holds a lot of cards. They just no longer feel like the enemy any more. That's uniform. That's positive. That's going to help the next 1,000 points be better, not worse. And they almost all know it to a woman and a man.




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 stocks mentioned.



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Feb 5, 2013 11:26AM
Perhaps if governors weren't allow to constantly redraw the districts to their own parties advantage congress would look different.....
Feb 5, 2013 11:09AM

The Congress has a 8% approval rating.People have nobody to blame but themselves.

They automatically approve funds for 1 war after another but roads and bridges

arn`t important.

Feb 5, 2013 12:04PM
Have you ever gone to a party, walked around for a few minutes, listened in on a few conversations and decided there wasn't much going on that was of interest.  That is exactly how I feel about this market.  Massive profits by Internationals, basically shooting fish in a barrel with their cheap labor boring products.  Where is the business in that ?  Where is the creativity?  And innovation, that was so 70's.  And we are spending and printing a trillion a year to goose this economy. Yes there are those who are believers. Yawn. Is it any wonder these fat cats; enjoying their private box suites at the place to be seen, are not complaining about the Congress or Senate?  Jim you do understand they own them don't you?
Feb 5, 2013 1:01PM
There are two kinds of executives Bobo runs into at parties. Those with an agenda for the snake oil salesman and those that did not see him coming.
Feb 5, 2013 2:58PM

You needed to word it correctly, Jim... you were hobnobbing-it with Ivy League pariah again. When you are hired-in without a stitch of entrepreneurial or enterprise in your history... you got into a cushy job by something other than skill set or a skill that rivals/mirrors those politicians in DC you comment about. If you had talked to mere mortals... the half-time show was lousy and costly and it blew the power out. A far simpler relative event would be appreciated. It isn't a sport any longer, the sport is the advertising. Dump the football and run a complete ad show. Be sure it's pay-per-view so I don't have to (view it). a better commentary from you would have been- why the Dow really dropped so much yesterday and who is funding the climb back- today.

Here's one for you to take to the banks-- most normal people no longer consider what's going on to be random. They want to know who calls these shots and who's close enough to end such arrogant omnipotence and why that haven't so far. We are SERIOUSLY tired of financial manipulation and cardboard cut-out incorporation.

Feb 5, 2013 10:46AM
and then Bobo............... You woke up!
Feb 5, 2013 1:12PM

You notice they interviewed them at the Super Bowl.How many actually paid for their

ticket and transportation and hookers?We did.

Feb 5, 2013 5:08PM

i bet the US auto companies have engineers sitting around at lunch discussing "you know what would make a really cool car?"  except the accounting department feels the payback is too risky or too slow. 


i bet even at HP there are engineers there who are saying "you know the kind of computer people want now?  well it's one that does.....".  except the accounting department feels the payback is too risky or too slow...


>>>>>Too many companies today only see as far as the next 2 quarters. We need more R&D, more creativity, innovation, and the willingness to undertake a certain level of risk.  Historically, companies that prefer to stand pat end up failing in the long run. <<<<

Feb 5, 2013 11:34AM

Hmmmm, Naysayers take notice....Markets up a 100 points.....Ho-Hum.

Yesterday, Markets down a 100 points...Ho-Hum.


Monday presented some buying opportunities....Some are up nicely today..   Ho-Hum.

Feb 5, 2013 12:51PM
Yes we are up close to 120 points, however, be cautious, volume still low and manipulators on alert and ready....Do not take these scumbags for granted, things could change down here in a NY minute; remember what happened yesterday...Be very very careful.
Feb 5, 2013 11:29AM
Nice to see earnings move the market and not government related news, although housing prices looking pretty good.  If they can pass the immigration reform maybe all the illegal's they hire to build new homes can pay taxes.
Feb 5, 2013 5:36PM
Its good that we close at 1600 hrs as opposed to 1630 hrs or later; scumbags gave it a try and tried to drop us big the last 30 minutes...Fortunately they didn't succeed, we were off the highs but a positive day nevertheless....Lets be careful tomorrow though, no doubt manipulators will want to continue their cheating early.
Feb 6, 2013 11:43AM
What we have hear this morning is basically a continuation from yesterday's 1530 hrs move by these scumbags....Not a big shocker...Volume still weak and plenty of manipulators trying to do their thing early...Long way to go still, maybe we can recover a bit...More later.
Feb 6, 2013 9:53AM

Ahhhhhh, waiting around for Kramer to come out with kernels of wisdom...So I can make important decisions today...


Okay punk, was that 5 or was that 6...?


James Cramer: Do an Article about "Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc." (SPPI)..

A Bio-Tech.....Is it Golden or Pyrite?...Am I a "fool" chasing windmills.?

Or could I be the next Guru....Just not going to live long enough, to become a Buffet.

What say you, old man. ???? 

Feb 5, 2013 10:54PM
DLH....Now that was funny....Different parties, different animals.
Feb 5, 2013 11:30AM

Pat.....As soon as they get their heads out of that dark spot....


They may approve more road and bridge, projects..

Another very important item...Is our Power Grids.

And of course pipelines, energy conveyance, and openings for energy retrievals.

Also without a lot of yelling...WE NEED GREEN ENERGY..


More then likely, Wind and Solar applications...?...Electric Vs are down the road;  Needs better development.


Feb 5, 2013 4:31PM
Pretty poor sentence structure, overall comprehension, and way too many run-on sentences for an Ivy League grad.  One might think those Ivy educations are bought and paid for, not earned. Perish the thought. Just think of all the good Harvard did for Dubya, and America as a result. Just think.

If anyone older than 50 could see the mollycoddling that goes on in private colleges today, you might think if you too could have easily gotten a 4 or 5.0 GPA too( without much trouble). Private school academic records will always be very suspect to me after a very eyeopening tour of a "prestigious" private college and the pampering those rich kids get. Give me good old public Berkeley any day. Ahhhh, that's better.
Feb 5, 2013 2:17PM

NTU....Some of those parties can be very boring and pretentious, but like drinking their booze and eating the crumpets...


But, Also a necessary avenue to make contacts and networking available...

Nowadays, if happen to go to any, I just drink...

Talk and BS with who I want, always like hearing new ideas...


Don't go to investment seminars...Maybe I should...??


Feb 5, 2013 2:18PM
It's a beautiful day in Retail and the Markets...
Feb 5, 2013 12:01PM

Chris.....About the REITS;

Been doing quite a bit of research on the Sector, we have owned about 3 different ones..

The different types of exposure to Mortages and Real Estate, are an important item,as of late.


One (CIM) I pared out of completely many months ago..

Another (NLY) I've recently cut back some positions..

Have increased positions in (AGNC), feel comfortable with them.

And am or will probably take more positions in (MTGE)..?

Another is (IRC) that I have been watching..It's fairly new (IPO), but not really sure about it's high flying and their big Dividend??

Most all, "average" well over a 10% payback, but have had sluggish growth lately...

I think they are a good place to park temporary cash...??

There are several or a multitude of choices, some better then others??

And until the FEDS make any moves in interest rates, most REITS are good producers...IMO.

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