Every once in a while I'll walk into the room when CNBC is on and hear Mad Money mad man Jim Cramer screaming about stock picks, the economy, the Fed. Spittle flying (his). Blood pressure rising (mine).
"How can you stand listening to him," I will inevitably ask my husband.
"Oh, I really don't pay any attention to him."
Well, for all my years working in somewhat noisy environments, Jim Cramer is someone I just find it impossible to tune out. Mute button, please.
Then, a few weeks ago, I had on some Tim Russert gabbing head show, with Jim Cramer as one of the guests.
And found myself agreeing with some of what he had to say about what we're not, as a nation, doing about the loss of American industry and the people losing their jobs because of globalization.
For one thing, Cramer doesn't think the Chinese play fair. I think that most people agree with this, yet we're so grateful for those cheap HD flat screens and the dancing Santa's singing "Jingle Bell Rock," that we don't seem to mind the currency manipulation, labor conditions, pollution, intellectual property issues, not to mention the loss of industries and industrial jobs here that comes along for the ride. (And no, Cramer is no protectionist - and neither am I. We just need to be more conscious and deliberate about the trade-offs we're making.)
CRAMER: We’re letting it happen. And no one is offering any resistance. It’s almost as if we’ve decided, you know what? We’ve ceded great American jobs to the Chinese.
It’s wrong, Tim. We should be—we should be stopping them and building up our industries again. And I am not against most free trade, but this is not free trade.
And then there was this on job retraining, of greater interest now that GM has just announced another vast round of lay-offs:
CRAMER: But why just kids? Our country has left and abandoned a whole generation, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60-year-old people who need that training. But I don’t see any government action about that.
I understand that this administration believes that government should be hands off, but that’s not enough anymore. We’re having a disenfranchised group of people in this country that need help from the government.
This one especially resonated after a recent conversation my husband had with our mailman about his two twenty-something, thirty-something sons, high school grads with a string of the types of no account jobs that are never going to translate into home ownership, family building, and all those other good citizen types of things. Yes, these "kids" may have been more feckless than a lot if guys their age, but I've got to believe that, a generation ago they would have stumbled into something that suited them by now. Multiply these two by a million other average Joes...The prospect is not pretty.
And on the Two Americas, Cramer is positively Edwardian in his outlook:
CRAMER: You can’t just have two countries, either. We can’t have rich—the large, rich population do well, but the much larger poor population be left out.
As I said, I usually flee the room when Jim Cramer's ranting, but I sure found myself agreeing with him.