It came and went - and some might not have even noticed it - despite the seriousness of its use. On April 2, CNBC's Jim Cramer proclaimed the Depression over.
Throughout that day, the "Mad Money" host told viewers of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," CNBC's "Street Signs" and finally on his own program that the Depression was over and that we were on the verge of a bull run for the financial markets.
"We have reached the land of a thousand bull dances - phoney maroney, why? Because the market swallowed its Prozac," Cramer said on CNBC's "Mad Money" April 2. "And right now, right here on this show - I am announcing the Depression over!"
It's no secret the Bush administration used fear tactics to push the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) through Congress last fall. Both members of the House and the Senate have come out after the fact and disclosed the details.
However, the method the Treasury Department employed to get banks to go along with the TARP bailout breached legal boundaries to the point of "extortion," according to Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano, a former Superior Court Judge for the state of New Jersey.
Napolitano told viewers on FNC's April 1 "Studio B" that he had a conversation with a head of $250-billion bank that explained the federal government, under the threat of an audit, forced him to accept TARP funds.
Arianna Huffington, who appeared as a guest host on CNBC's March 31 "Squawk Box" has following of left-wing readers and bloggers, as the editor of the very popular Huffington Post blog. The two faced off on "Squawk Box" about how the housing crisis should be handled. Huffington asked Santelli what his thoughts were on more government assistance for underwater homeowners to prevent another round of foreclosures.
"Well, the whole country is underwater I guess," Santelli replied. "It's just a matter of where you want to point the bailout gun. I would certainly like to see some of those mortgage contracts gone through to find out where the erroneous and inaccurate and illegal contracts and separate those from the rest because I think that a lot of the information on the original mortgage contracts is not accurate and I don't think it would be very fair to put those in the same camp as other foreclosures."
One of the subplots in the soap opera known as CNBC took another turn on Monday as some of the pieces fell in place of who's doing what and why.
Last Friday, CNBC and former "Fast Money" host Dylan Ratigan parted ways officially. However, on CNBC's March 30 "Fast Money," show panelist Guy Adami, the managing director of Drakon Capital, announced Melissa Lee, a fill-in host over the past year for the popular network show, as the new caretaker of the show's "center seat," that plays the moderator role for the show.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, and nothing," Adami said. "Listen, clearly you've noticed some changes on the set, but as a show and as a network, we'd just like to wish Melissa Lee, the Emissary, all the best as she now takes the center seat on ‘Fast Money.'"
Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck has already shown he's a rating success and is leaving a mark in cable news. However, he may have pulled one of his most successful performances yet.
Beck interviewed Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on his March 30 broadcast. But, the radio and TV host took the opportunity to tell Blumenthal what he thought of his investigation into the bonuses received by American International Group (AIG) executives - whose company received federal bailout money.
"Look, you know what you have done, know what you have done?" Beck said. "You have - you are an insult to George Washington, sir. George Washington made it very clear that we are a respecter of laws, not of men. For your own political gain, you have decided to go after these people at AIG because it is a popular thing."
After General Motors (NYSE:GM) Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner was forced out by President Barack Obama, Wall Street is betting bank CEO firings will be the next shoe to drop.
CNBC's New York Stock Exchange floor reporter Bob Pisani told viewers of CNBC's March 30 "Street Signs" the market's actions, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropping as much as 300 points, are reflect, in part,that the government is going to force bank CEOs out as they did with Wagoner.
"Look, the main concern here today is Geithner's comments that some banks are going to need a lot more capital," Pisani said. "And for everybody who says why haven't they fired anymore bank CEOs yet - why hasn't the government done it, wait - they're going to."
Want a little populist outrage? There's nothing like hearing it from a multi-millionaire advertising mogul with a spot on CNBC.
Donny Deutsch, the host of "The Big Idea," a show the network has shelved, explained to viewers on the March 25 broadcast of "CNBC Reports" he wants measures put in place to keep prevent people he regards as "idiots" from making $10 million a year.
"The issue is even now, with the new asset program, basically if it works, the taxpayer's taking up all the risk," Deutsch said. "God forbid it doesn't work, taxpayers are really going to take it on the chin. And let's say we get it right and the banks are lending again and everything is fine again - what is now put in place on Wall Street to make sure idiots are not getting paid $10 million a year?"
For over six months, bankers, traders, financial institution employees, and anybody in any way associated with Wall Street have been eviscerated by the media as greedy, lying crooks.
Considering this, and how shortly after his inauguration, President Barack Obama said this isn't the time for people to be worried about profits, one has to wonder what kind of reaction the left and their media minions will have towards George Soros's declaration that he's "having a very good crisis."
The following shocking revelation was reported Wednesday by Britain's Daily Mail in an article astoundingly titled "'I'm Having a Very Good Crisis,' says Soros as Hedge Fund Managers Make Billions Off Recession":
Talk about unintended consequences. All this populist anger ginned up by congressional Democrats, the media and the Obama administration is going to hinder the Treasury Department's strategy to rescue the banking system.
Paul Krugman, the liberal New York Times columnist and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics explained to Bloomberg News on March 24 that this is just what is happening.
According to Krugman, the backlash caused by bailed-out American International Group (AIG) compensation debacle and efforts by Congress to limit other expenditures - private jets, office redecorations, salaries, etc. - is causing otherwise healthy financial institutions to shy away from accepting and keeping Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money from the federal government.
Perhaps this post could be headlined "CNBC Continues to Atone for Its Outspoken Obama Criticism."
As if announcing Democratic National Committee chairman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean as a "CNBC contributor" weren't enough, CNBC has invited the editor in chief of one of the its biggest critics to guest co-host one of CNBC's most popular shows.
Originally reported in a status update from Arianna Huffington's Facebook page on March 24, and later confirmed by Huffington herself in an e-mail with the Media Research Center, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post will co-host CNBC's "Squawk Box" on March 31.
Could this be another case of a chastened CNBC succumbing to criticism from the left to improve its image?
Just a day after CNBC named former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean a CNBC contributor, an uncharacteristically soft-spoken CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, appeared on NBC's March 24 "Today" along with CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host and "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett. In a tone similar to the apologetic one he had earlier this month on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," he complimented President Barack Obama's rhetoric toward high executive compensation.
"We have to put the shareholders somewhere in the equation," Cramer said. "When these CEOs make so much money, it hurts the shareholders. We have to be pro-shareholder. The president has become pro-shareholder."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith talked to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs about Monday’s stock market rally and wondered: "What was the reaction at the White House yesterday when the stock market closed?...There's been a lot of heat, though, aimed at the White House, aimed at the Treasury Secretary. Was there some degree of vindication?"
Gibbs claimed that the administration does not pay attention to daily stock numbers, but Smith replied: "You have to admit, it's a pretty good day, though, when the stock market goes up 500 points and the AIG executives, at least more than a dozen of them, say ‘we're going to give our money back.’" After Smith’s pressing, Gibbs admitted: "Well, look, Harry. I'll take 500 points and that kind of news any day of the week."
An earlier report by Bloomberg TV anchor Deirdre Bolton credited the White House banking plan for the stock surge: "...yesterday the Dow soared to 6.5%, that was the biggest gain since October. The Obama administration finally giving some -- Wall Street some details on how the bad banks' assets can be treated. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner put together a plan that some say is the best of both worlds to deal with toxic assets."
When Jon Stewart eviscerated Jim Cramer for not doing a better job of warning Americans about the looming financial crisis, the "Mad Money" host should have brought videos and transcripts of some of his highly-publicized rants in order to thoroughly disprove the comedian's premise.
In fact, as former investigative reporter turned actor and producer Dan Giffordrevealed at Big Hollywood Sunday, Cramer should have wiped the floor with Stewart and put an end to all the CNBC bashing.
For instance, the "Mad Money" host could have shared with Stewart's audience this tirade from August 2007 (video embedded right):
For the second day in a row, CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host Mark Haines took on a Democratic congressman over the issue that American International Group (AIG) paid out too much in bonuses for a company that received federal bailout money.
On March 19, Haines took on alleged tax cheat Charles Rangel, questioning whether or not he should be dictating tax policy while the House Ethics Committee investigates him for his tax problems. On CNBC's March 20 "Squawk on the Street," Haines took on Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif. on the issue.
Sherman contended the 90-percent tax on bonuses exceeding $250,000 that the House passed 328-93 didn't go far enough. He said a government receivership would have been the proper way to handle AIG, and not the bailout method the federal government employed.
Former President George W. Bush is personally responsible for the current financial crisis and should give every penny of his family fortune to the American people as a result.
So proclaimed financial advisor Suze Orman in an article published Friday at WWD.
Ironically, the piece also pointed out that Orman didn't foresee the collapse of the financial services industry, and not only continued to recommend people buy real estate as the bubble was being pumped, but also purchased an expensive apartment in New York City close to the peak.
While there has been a lot of outrage over taxpayer money being used to fund $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives propagated by the media, Fox Business "Happy Hour" co-host Cody Willard suggested the bailout money is going to something far worse - terrorism, specifically al-Qaida.
On March 18, The Wall Street Journal reported that some of the money the U.S. government paid out to AIG might be benefiting hedge funds that bet on a failing housing market. According to the report, investment banks like Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) sold financial instruments to hedge funds betting defaults would increase.
"AIG bailout funds terrorism," Willard said. "This is what it's all about guys, it's the most politically well-connected. AIG aid is not going just to AIG shareholders, but more of the point is that it's going to Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and these other banks, whose customers are yes - these giant hedge funds."
The anger and outrage over $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives has many upset and outraged, but it also has some scratching their head wondering where that same emotion is over the entire government spending/bailout culture that has encapsulated Washington, D.C.
Earlier on March 17, CNBC reporter Rick Santelli suggested on CNBC's "Squawk Box" some of this outrage could be purely political. However, liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz said on MSNBC's March 17 "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," host by David Shuster, this "outrage" is welcomed by President Barack Obama.
"David, I think the Obama administration wants this public outrage," Schultz said. "It's an issue of timing right now. They couldn't have stopped the money to AIG."
Business and Media Institute's Dan Gainor appeared on Fox Business News "Money for Breakfast" March 17 to discuss the Obama economic team's performance in the administration's first 50 days.
Gainor dubbed Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner "the worst" because "when he came out and talked about the housing plan that he didn't have, the markets tanked."
Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve Chairman, earned a "B-minus," partly because "he showed his strength on Sunday" during a "60 Minutes" interview. Director of the White House's National Economic Council Larry Summers received a "C grade" for being "not great, not horrible."
Since his now-famous Chicago Tea Party outburst from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in February, CNBC's Rick Santelli had seemingly disappeared from the spotlight.
However, on CNBC's March 17 "Squawk Box," Santelli, using similar theatrics, noted that the Obama administration as been very concerned about $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
"Well, I mean it seems as though the administration really hit this one head on. They're not happy about it, right?" Santelli said.
In a speech on March 16, President Barack Obama called it an "outrage" and said Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was pursuing "legal avenues" to block the bonuses. In Santelli's view, Obama seemed to be worrying about millions, instead of the billions and trillions.
As much as the 2008 presidential election was a battle between socialism and capitalism in America, so too is the highly-publicized feud between Comedy Central's Jon Stewart and CNBC's Jim Cramer.
Even their last names begin with the same letters as the economic philosophies they're defending.
Of course, the press coverage of the main event -- Cramer appearing on "The Daily Show" Thursday to face his accuser -- is also emblematic of this war with the liberal media cheering for Stewart, and those on the right clearly in the "Mad Money" host's corner.
Now that CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli has mysteriously disappeared from the spotlight after his criticism of President Barack Obama's mortgage proposal in February and now that CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has been marginalized after his lackluster appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on March 12, could the new target of the Obama machine and the left and their accomplices in the media be CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow?
James Rainey, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, set his sights on Kudlow in his March 13 column. Kudlow's show is one of the last vestiges of pro-free market capitalism left at a time when populism has become the theme of the day.
Rainey's column, headlined as a critique of CNBC focused on two personalities - Kudlow and Cramer, even though Cramer has been raked over the coals since he made his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
It was supposed to be a moment of high drama - when Comedy Central "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart faced off with CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. But it wasn't a fight, it was more of a beating. The "comedian," as Cramer recently called him, repeatedly bashed the financial network and its star host in a segment called "Brawl Street."
The week-long feud began when CNBC reporter Rick Santelli canceled his scheduled appearance on the March 5 "The Daily Show," which led to a scathing attack on the entire CNBC network, and Cramer taking a few jabs in return. Finally, the "Mad Money" host sat down for an interview with Stewart on his March 12 broadcast. Initially, Cramer was apologetic for his the way the entire financial crisis had gone down from a media point-of-view.
"I think that everyone could have come in under criticism because we all should have seen it more," Cramer said. "I mean, admittedly, this is a terrible one and everybody got it wrong. I got a lot of things wrong, because I think it was a one in a million shot."
Jim Cramer just keeps paying the price for his heresy. Ever since his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president," the CNBC "Mad Money" host has been under attack. First it was the back-and-forth with the White House, then he was skewered by comedian Jon Stewart. Now CNN and a former high-ranking public official have targeted him.
"You know, a lot of times when I was short and I was positioned short, meaning I needed it down, I would create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures," Cramer said in the three year-old video. "Similarly, or if I were long, and I would want to make things a little bit rosy, I would go in and take a bunch of stocks and make sure that they're higher and maybe commit five million in capital to it and I could affect it."
The good folks in the Obama administration and in the media took on the wrong foe with Jim Cramer, for the outspoken CNBC personality struck back at his ill-informed and economically-challenged critics Monday in a fashion those that have watched him for years have grown to expect.
In his self-titled "Cramer Takes on the White House, Frank Rich and Jon Stewart," the "Mad Money" host: referred to the current White House as "exacerbating the crisis with its budget and policies"; accurately exposed the New York Times' Frank Rich and comedian Jon Stewart for cherry-picking snippets of his on-air recommendations in order to discredit him, and; complimented the civility of folks on the right declaring, "I always love anyone from Fox on the team because they are fierce in their defense with much less gratuitous slamming."
Wall Street’s major stock indexes followed Monday’s strong sell-off with a day of fluctuation, ending with more losses.
The Dow Jones Industrials Average gyrated between modest gains and losses throughout the trading day, ending the down 37 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 6,726. Monday’s fall below 7,000 sent the Dow to its lowest level since April 1997.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended Tuesday trading down 4.49 to 696, it first close below the 700 level since October 1996. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended Tuesday’s session down 1.84 to 1321.
But after considering inflation, the markets are, in real terms, stuck at 1995 values, as shown in the following chart:
Here we go again - another Obama administration/media personality feud in the works.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has no problem addressing media critics of President Barack Obama - even on an individual basis. Since Obama was sworn in as president, Gibbs has addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, CNBC mercantile exchange floor reporter Rick Santelli and now CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
During the March 3 White House press briefing, Tom Costello of NBC News asked Gibbs to respond to remarks from Cramer, who was described as "not a conservative," made on NBC's March 3 "Today" show that he "thought the president's policies, his agenda had contributed to the greatest wealth destruction he's ever seen by a president."
Although an admitted Barack Obama supporter during last year's campaign, CNBC's Jim Cramer has certainly changed his view concerning our 44th president.
On Tuesday's "Today" show, the outspoken "Mad Money" host said: we have "an agenda in this country now that I would regard as being a radical agenda"; Obama's just announced budget "put a level of fear in this country that I have not seen ever in my life," and; "This is the most, greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
He also called Timothy Geithner "an invisible treasury secretary," and expressed hope that the next time he goes to Capitol Hill "he doesn't throw the drowning man the anvil like he did the last time he spoke" (video and transcript below the fold, file photo):
It was news media conventional wisdom during the 2008 presidential campaign: the worse the economy, the better it was for Democrat candidate prospects. But now that they have the legislative and executive branches and the burden of actually governing, that advantage is slowly being chipped away.
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, who first starting connecting that perhaps a Democrat-controlled federal government might not be the best thing for the United States earlier this year, gave something of a downbeat rant on Feb. 2 about Obama's handling of the economy so far.
"Until the Obama administration starts listening, until they start paying attention to what you're watching - to the stock market, until they realize that their agenda is destroying the life savings of millions of Americans - then all I can give you is caution," Cramer said on his March 2 broadcast.
"Listen, I think the government should stay out," Santelli said to Kudlow about the banking system. "I mean, look at the last plan where we put that money in there. There was talk about obviously the preferred shares and the dividend payments and paying it back, and now that's under review. You know, so we're revising the last plan. We're throwing more money in."
The resolution, according to Santelli, would be to protect the depositors, but let the institutions fail.
Will wonders ever cease? First, a NBC network airs its Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor reporter making a call to action against all the populism that has inundated the political dialogue over the past six months. Now, the same reporter, Rick Santelli, has been invited by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to the White House.
On CNBC's "Street Signs" Feb. 20, Santelli told viewers he would accept Gibbs' invitation. And, although his critics thought he was over-the-top, he said he still felt good about his impassioned plea.
"Well, I tell you what Melissa Lee," Santelli said. "It's been a wild afternoon, but I do want to point out - I do believe I was invited to the White House by Mr. Gibbs and I want to let him know, I would love to. I would love to accept and the decaf sounds good, but I prefer tea, but thank you for bring this into the forefront. This is an issue that means a lot to everybody and I'm glad it's getting a high degree of introspection, debate and I think that's essential. I feel really good about that."