Monday, March 09, 2009

Jim Cramer is probably on the cusp of conversion

All the parts are there, they just need to be baked into the final product. Right now, they're half-baked, but I mean that in a "glass is half full" sort of way.

Jim has recently noticed something I've heard from Dennis Miller and at least one other friend I have who has made the transition from the left to the right. And that is the observation that people on the right are generally much more civil than their counterparts on the left.

Jim Cramer:
It is funny how the right is certainly very civil as my old friends and new allies as of last week, Fred Barnes and Sean Hannity, don't hold my left wing social view against me when they talk about my criticism of the president! I always love anyone from Fox on the team because they are fierce in their defense with much less gratuitous slamming.
The one last ingredient Mr. Cramer seems to be missing is related to this: he believes that Obama's social agenda is a good one. That expanding government even more to provide services at further expense to "the rich" (who already pay the vast majority of taxes in the US) is a good thing, just not right now. So my question for Jim is, why would it ever be good?

Suppose, during good times, we enacted some of this social agenda. First, we must recognize that for the same reasons it is bad during bad times, it will at least add drag to the economy making those good times less good. This means jobs don't get created as quickly, retirement accounts don't grow as quickly, and maybe a few jobs even get lost.

Second, we must recognize that bad times will come again -- and using the logic Cramer is using that would mean those social programs would need to be scaled back for the economy to heal itself. But of course when times are bad that's the absolute worst time to scale back social programs that people have come to rely on.

So it is better not to have them in the first place.

The preamble to the Constitution does not speak of Life, Liberty, and free or subsidized health care. Employment isn't an inalienable right, nor is access to government unemployment programs. We have thrown trillions into social programs over the years, and the problems they were designed to address have not gone away. Sure, some individuals have been helped, but the problem has only grown. This is because you always get more of what you subsidize. Subsidize the poor, you get more poor. Subsidize unemployment and you get more unemployment. Subsidize babies and you get more babies. And so on.

It's basic economics, Jim.

"If you're not a liberal by the time you're 20, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 40, you have no brain." - unknown

UPDATE 3/11/2009
"President Obama's team, unlike Bush's team, demonstrates a thinness of skin that shocks me. When I somewhat obviously and empirically judged that the populist Obama administration is exacerbating the crisis with its budget and policies, as evidenced by the incredible decline in the [stock market] averages since his inauguration, I was met immediately with condescension and ridicule rather than constructive debate or even just benign dismissal. I said to myself, 'What the heck? Are they really that blind to the Great Wealth Destruction they are causing with their decisions to demonize the bankers, raise taxes for the wealthy, advocate draconian cap-and-trade policies and upend the health care system? Do they really believe that only the rich own stocks? What do they think we have our retirement accounts in, CDs? Where did they think that the money saved for college went, our mattresses?" --MSNBC's Jim Cramer

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