With Capitalists Like Jim Cramer, Who Needs Socialists?
Or as Martin Wolf explains in his most recent column in tomorrow's Financial Times:
"When William Poole, chairman of the St Louis Federal Reserve, said that"the Fed should respond to market upsets only when it has become clear that they threaten to undermine achievement of fundamental objectives of price stability and high employment or when financial market developments threaten market processes themselves", I gave a cheer.
"Not so Jim Cramer, hedge fund manager and television pundit, who declared last Friday that chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke,"is being an academic!...My people have been in this game for 25 years. And they are losing their jobs and these firms are going to go out of business, and he’s nuts! They're nuts! They know nothing!...The Fed is asleep."
"So capitalism is for poor people and socialism is for capitalists. This view is not just offensive. It is catastrophic."
Wolf's column is behind a subscription wall but you can take out a free 15-day trial subscription to the Financial Times.
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William J. Stepp - 8/15/2007
Cramer represents a long-lived strain of Wall Streeters for Big Government. He almost seems free-market-oriented though, compared to a rag like Investor's Business Daily, which routinely alternates between shilling for the Fed to come to the rescue of Wall Street, and screaming (in the most blood curdling way) for more war in Iraq and elsewhere.
(It almost makes the War Street Journal look like a bunch of flower-throwing pacifists, if you can believe it.)
Then there are all sorts of capitalists like Warren Buffett (and recently Bill Gross) wishing Congress would raising taxes, both income and estate taxes.
There was a great letter in the WSJ today by a writer criticizing Gross, who pointed out that the government would just waste the money on ear marks. Nothing is keeping these guys from donating money to the Treasury.
The Economist also points out this week that there is a large constituency for tax free bonds issued by states to fund infrastructure projects. Investment firms, which sell these things, employ lobbyists to keep the market deep and liquid. They are a powerful constituency against privatizing roads, bridges, and other projects funded by the taxes that pay for the bonds.
And on the subject of infrastructure, there was an illuminating op-ed in yesterday's New York Times, I think by Samuel Schwartz (sp?), a civil engineer.
He pointed out that routine maintenance (like painting beams) on New York's many bridges has often been delayed in an effort to secure Federal matching funds for the really big, splashy infrastructure projects that cost more money and provide bacon-winning pols with more photo ops, but at a cost, like the collapse of part of the West Side Highway in the late 1980s, and several other catastrophes.
What politician cares about replacing worn out bolts when there's a ribbon to be cut and a hand to be shaken?