Chris Matthews Rude Awakening: $787-Billion Stimulus 'A Big Grab Bag of Stuff'’
It's an odd natural occurrence when you put MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews and CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer together, but when it happens they seem to draw some obvious conclusions - albeit nearly 10 months too late.
Back in January, Cramer appeared on Matthews' show. They both expressed their concern over the $787-billion stimulus, which eventually passed and asked if it really was stimulative. When the duo appeared together again on Oct. 12, they concluded it wasn't. Cramer was on "Hardball" to promote his new book, "Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even."
Matthews observed that the stimulus bill passed in January simply wasn't getting the job done.
"Second question, does there need to be a real stimulus package?" Matthews asked. "You know uh, David Garth, the great political consultant, said you have to remove the smell of decay and replace it with the smell of construction."
Based on that view, Matthews asked Cramer when there could be some real infrastructure spending that would put the unemployed back to work.
"We all know what construction smells like: dirt, concrete, cement, wood," Matthews continued. "You can smell it in the streets when you walk by a construction site and you're a superintendent. When is that going to happen? When are the cranes going to go up? When are the highways gonna be re- what happened to the true infrastructure spending that we're supposed to see?"
Cramer said, just as he did in January, that it wasn't there.
"We never really got it. We never got it," Cramer replied. "Even if you look at the numbers initially, they were really just a little bit bigger than the Big Dig."
Then Matthews declared that the stimulus was nothing more than a Democratic-controlled Congress using a bad economic situation to force through items they couldn't get passed with a Republican in the White House and/or the Republicans controlling one of the two houses of Congress.
"But it didn't go to construction projects, which people could smell and see," Matthews said. "I believe that's what bugs people, and that's why Pelosi's not popular. She's not popular because she presided over the creation of a big grab bag of stuff - from condoms to god knows what. No, I'm serious."
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) approaching 10,000 - many on the left think Obama's not getting enough credit for the economy, as a stock market rebound seems to be a good sign. However, as Cramer explained, the president isn't going to be able to take any credit for the economy until there's a clear rebound in the job market.
"Right, we did not get infrastructure," Cramer said. "We're not criss-crossing the country with new highways or pipelines for natural gas. We are not putting people to work. We are still losing jobs. There may be as much as 18 percent is the real unemployment, because if you include the people who have given up. And that's why Obama can't take credit for what's happening."