Jim Cramer (Mad Money, TheStreet.com and Jon Stewart of Comedy Central went head-to-head late last week, and here is my letter to both networks in response):
I'm a huge fan of both shows. You entertain me. And I'm talking years here.
I'd like to think that both Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer are in this position, of collecting 2,000 comments on the blog immediately following the airing of their toe-to-toe battle interview, because they want to be. As willing, educated, brilliant and active participants in our democratic process and civil servants to the debate of the free market system. And, a little bit because they both love the limelight. As entertainers.
Certainly, both men have impressive resumes and historical measures of their respective brilliance. Big brains. There is no denying that. However, both of them failed to place blame on where Wall Street bumps into Main Street, and the Universe collapses on itself: Original Sin.
Isn't, to a certain extent, human nature to blame, in this current debacle? Aren't we all pleased when we find out a stock we bought yesterday went up 30% due to some unexpected news? And likewise, isn't a 7-year old selling lemonade just delighted when the heat index breaks 100 degrees and there is no other liquid to be found nearby? Aren't all of loyal Cramerica fans dedicated to the idea that with sane, thorough, fundamental analysis of stocks, you, too can profit handsomely with your investment dollars?
Don't we all like to laugh at Jon Stewart's brilliant rhetoric?
Yes, yes, and oh by the way--we're all a little greedy, too*. Who didn't appreciate their home increasing in value (an unsustainable) 20%, or their stock portfolio increasing four-fold over the same number of years? Nobody wants nothing for their work and labor. It's called Human Nature.
I believe that those who have more, should give more, and those who don't, can get help. I strongly believe Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart, deep in their hearts, feel the same way, ideologically.
However! There are very complex financial instruments out there, which beget complex financial markets. I only understand a tenth of it having worked on a trading floor in MARKET RISK MANAGEMENT. I was measuring Market Risk for equity derivative trading portfolios.. and.. guess what?! Traders are smart. Traders are sneaky. Traders like to WIN. And they like to make money. And.. add some overleveraged banks, not enough capital, mortgages defaulting and de-valuing assets across the board, credit seizing up, commerce halting, the People getting caught in the middle and... here we are.
Jon Stewart asked the excellent point-question: "What is our role as journalists, if not to reveal the very shenanigans going on behind the uninformed Public's back..if we know about them?"
Certainly, Jim Cramer is not the face of whom we blame. His network? Could they have done more?
One of my favorite quotes:
* Note: NOT that I blame what has happened in the current crisis on the People, per se, simply that it was too easy to allow current market conditions to be ripe for bankers/traders/etc. to reap the benefits of (us) it in the capital markets.