In an opinion piece for CNBC.com on Wednesday, Street Signs anchor Brian Sullivan argued: "...for the majority of the country, $4 gas isn't going to doom us or our economy....right now it just doesn't add up. After all, it looks like $5 is the new $4 when it comes to gas prices and the economy."
Sullivan cited new car sales being on the rise, with those vehicles having better gas mileage, and pointed to inflation causing $4 a gallon to actually be "somewhere in the $3.64 range in 2007 dollars today." In addition, he noted the payroll tax cut "mitigates much of the impact."
CNBC's Erin Burnett made a gaffe on Tuesday's Street Signs as she covered a new app for Apple devices which is aimed to assist Catholics to go to confession. Burnett wondered if the app, which costs $1.99 would bring the Church "back to the age of 'condolences' (sic), those things that Martin Luther so abhorred" [audio available here].
The anchor reported on the app, "Confession: A Roman Catholic App," just before the top of the 3 pm Eastern hour, noting that the new program had received the approval of Church authorities. Burnett gave a brief explanation of the app before making her historical error:
Food-filled winter holidays will soon arrive. But the liberal news media have already spent recent days comparing soda to an illegal drug, promoting a toy ban in kid’s Happy Meals, and generally bashing fast food companies for giving customers exactly what they want.
CNBC’s Erin Burnett outdid food police groups on Nov. 8, when she compared soda to cocaine in a segment discussing a “fat tax.” After citing some claims about people being fatter and living shorter lives, Burnett asked a beverage company spokesperson: “Is your industry killing us?”
It is a curious phenomenon - the way the media have handled the economy since President Barack Obama has taken office. Generally the coverage has been on the optimistic side over the last 18 months. But could this blind optimism come back to haunt people that trade on economic metrics?
According to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, it will and in a big way on Aug. 27, when the new gross domestic product numbers are released. On CNBC's Aug. 26 broadcast of "Street Signs," Cramer predicted dismal numbers during his "Stop Trading" segment, which has been contrary to the way the market reacted.
"Look, I'm going to give you my forecast right now - I think we're going to get 0.5 percent GDP, OK?" Cramer said. "But, let's say we get 0.5 percent GDP. Everyone's going to say it's horrible. We're going to go track down economists, Nobel winners who think it's a double dip. And it'll be like shocker - 0.5 percent. And I'm telling you it's going to be 0.5 percent. It's like the housing number. On my show I said it's going to be declined 50 percent. We get 30 percent. It was like shocker. Whoever is making these estimates is just so wrong because you know, you piece these pieces together on a daily basis like I do and come up with something between zero and 1 percent growth."
Paul Krugman and Larry Kudlow - not exactly two guys you would associate with one another. However, they are two media figures Washington Post columnist Frank Ahrens thinks should be candidates for the same job.
In his case for Krugman, Ahrens wondered that since Krugman can talk the talk, can he walk the walk as well.
"Outside the academic world, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is best known for his New York Times columns arguing that the $787 billion, debt-busting stimulus bill was not enough, so even moderate Democrats -- not to mention conservatives -- might lose their minds with this pick. But maybe it's time for Krugman to put his money where his mouth is," Ahrens wrote. "You think government needs to spend more to get us out of this funk? Okay, Paul. Here's the key to the car."
On CNBC's June 29 broadcast "Power Lunch," Rep. Paul Kajorski, D-Pa. made a pretty prediction about the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) should Congress be unable to pass financial regulation legislation. [Video Available Here]
"You know, I wish every one of them would ask the question and also the industry and media, what happens in this country if this bill fails?" Kanjorski said. "Do you think 236 points down on the Dow is surprising? Check 1,000 or 2,000 points if we fail to change the ways that caused this problem."
That caught the attention of CNBC's Erin Burnett, who played the clip for "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. Cramer blasted Kanjorski and the entire institution of the federal government for being a drag on the markets for a myriad of reasons on his June 29 "Stop Trading" segment of CNBC's "Street Signs."
Reports are surfacing that BP is finally considering a suspension of its shareholder's dividend, but what could have been done differently to avert the public relations nightmare BP is facing? Two CNBC hosts had some ideas about that, and about what could have happened if BP chose not to play ball.
Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett shared their thoughts on the "Stop Trading" segment of "Street Signs" June 11. According to the "Mad Money" host, Obama could have set a foul precedent for multi-national businesses if BP (NYSE:BP) didn't agree to make some concessions on how it is handling its day-to-day operations in the wake of this ecological crisis.
"I think that this is a, a stock that represents great value but you're dealing with the government," Cramer said. "I saw that Nancy Pelosi, she's the second most powerful person in our country, saying that they shouldn't be paying a dividend. I mean, this is one of those situations where I know, the president's approval ratings are down and what you got to do is you got to go after BP if you're the president. I'm not saying I would do it but I'm saying if I were the president of the United States, BP is public enemy number one and you're not even going to listen to what the British say. You just gotta say, ‘Guys, here's the deal, we're not, we're not going to have any dividends here. And just you know, take it or leave it, partner, because this is a company that needs U.S. ball play."
Back during the 2008 presidential campaign, then-Sen. Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for vice president said it was "patriotic" for people to pay more taxes, in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America." But what if you don't have to pay more taxes legally?
Biden's reasoning was simplistic - that we all need to "jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut." But according to CNBC's Jim Cramer, based on legal precedence, the Internal Revenue Service encourages people to pay as little tax as possible, as long as it is within the boundaries of the seemingly endless U.S. tax code.
"The government has made it very clear in a series of tax rulings since the income tax started - and I learned this at law school - that it is actually well within your patriotic right to try and pay as little tax legally," Cramer said on CNBC's March 12 "Street Signs." "See, tax avoidance is actually part of the IRS - says listen tax avoidance, you can do it. Tax evasion is against the law. Tax avoidance, the IRS has always said listen you have every right to try and have tax avoidance. And believe me, I'm going to take advantage of it."
President Barack Obama encouraged some business interests by mentioning nuclear energy and offshore drilling during his Jan. 27 State of the Union speech. Those less popular energy solutions joined the usual alternative rhetoric of wind, solar and bio-fuels.
But on CNBC's Jan. 28 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of CNBC's "Mad Money" noted something was missing - an important onshore energy source, natural gas. And as for the nuclear energy signals - he wasn't convinced Obama was serious.
"I mean, I want to point out I thought the nuke thing was just the boilerplate nuke," Cramer said. "[Energy Secretary Steven] Chu is a research director, the Energy Secretary, really is more of a professor. Offshore oil and gas, the issue is onshore. Natural gas wasn't mentioned, got to be really careful about that."
Worried about a potential slippery slope with the Obama administration dictating what people are paid in the private sector - TARP bailout or no TARP bailout? Message from CNBC's Jim Cramer: Get over it.
On CNBC's Oct. 21 "Street Signs," the "Mad Money" host ripped into Wall Street executives that objected to the government dictating the rules of compensation. Opponents argue these pay restrictions inhibit Wall Street firms ability to retain the best employees possible - an argument Cramer says doesn't matter.
"Hey, there's no God-given right to work at those companies," Cramer said. "These people can go off if they want to. I know that [Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive] Vikram Pandit has kept 23 of the top 25 people with very severe pay restrictions. If you believe in your institution, you stay. See, a lot of Americans are looking at those pay cuts and thinking, ‘How do I get in on the action?' So I don't really care."
Lately there's has been an anti-Wall Street sentiment, propagated by the media that has become exacerbated as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) hit 10,000 Oct. 14.
On CNBC's Oct. 15 "Street Signs," Jim Cramer, host of "Mad Money," was asked by fill-in host Melissa Francis what he thought about the outrage over Wall Street hitting its stride, while unemployment continues to rise.
"What did you think about [Morgan Stanley CEO] John Mack's answer to the big question of the day, which is the divergence between Main Street and Wall Street?" Francis asked. "We see Dow 10,000 - bonuses are back at the same time Main Street is in a shambles."
Cramer took a different and unexpected tact by explaining he was a Spartacist, one who believed in a Communism in his youth. But during that time in his life, he said he became very familiar with the teachings of Vladimir Lenin.
But it was just a matter of time before the usual culprits on the left would attempt to make an issue of it, in what seems to be an effort to gin up some reason for the talk show host not to have an ownership stake in an NFL team. And, MSNBC's Ed Schultz isn't waiting for pointers from the left-wing blogosphere to set the "Stop Rush's Bid for the Rams" agenda. He took it to Limbaugh on his Oct. 6 program immediately.
"There's also some comical football news out there," Schultz said. "The drugster's talking about buying the St. Louis Rams. That's right, the leader of the Republican Party is bidding for ownership of a team that's been giving more money to Democrats than any other team has over the last 10 years, at least that's what the survey says. He'll have to do something about that I'm sure."
Karl Rove, David Axelrod - look out. CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has the political climate figured out.
Since inauguration, President Barack Obama has seen his approval ratings fall by almost every poll and that's historically a normal reaction as the newness wears off a new president.
During his Sept. 30 "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs," Cramer pointed out that although the prospects of Obama's ideal health care reform package passing are doubtful, health insurance providers are facing fallout from a publicity campaign meant by the administration to push through health insurance reform. That gives the administration a new villain.
About a year ago, then-Senator and Democratic nominee Barack Obama managed to seize control of the issue of taxes from the Republican Party by promising lower taxes for "95 percent of Americans."
But today it's a drastically different situation. Obama's $787-billion stimulus has been passed into law and the administration is taking on higher deficits, which will only increase if a Democrat health care reform bill passes. It looks as though the president's hand will be forced and he will have to raise taxes. That's begs question - where were the media on this a year ago?
CNBC's Erin Burnett asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at a CNBC made-for-television town hall on Sept. 10 if taxes would be raised. Geithner dodged the question, but Burnett interpreted the dodge to mean yes, as she explained on NBC's Sept. 13 "Meet the Press."
Remember when Michael Moore depicted the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS) as a superior health care system in his 2007 documentary "Sicko"?
That romanticizing on the silver screen might have seemed like a good idea for the American society, but according to Lord Ara Darzi, it's not ideal for the United States. Darzi, a former British Health Minister, appeared on CNBC's Aug. 31 "Street Signs" to defend the NHS from attacks made in a TV spot, which had been rejected by ABC and NBC for airing because they were "too partisan."
"Street Signs' host Erin Burnett presented the hypothetical question to Darzi that if the U.S. would ever go to a single-payer system, would stifle innovation and would that mean rationing of care. According to Darzi - those decisions are made on a local level.
Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz and the brain trust at ThinkProgress probably won't like this, but CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer thinks the Glenn Beck boycott won't have an impact on NewsCorp's (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of Fox News, bottom line.
During the "Stop Trading" segment on "Street Signs" Aug. 24, Cramer explained that Unilever (NYSE:UN) was going all out with its advertising, by not avoiding shows that might offend someone's political sensibilities. Cramer said that strategy was paying off for Unilever, whose stock is up 10 percent since July.
"When I look at it, it's very interesting because there's an article in the same magazine, Ad Age magazine, about how like Unilever is spending like mad, and that they're going to be, Unilever had a spectacular quarter," Cramer said. "My take is that whoever is just trying to parcel and figure out where to be in the Fox News or where to be in the MSNBC, ought to take their cue from Unilever, which had the best quarter of all packaged goods because they flooded all media and it showed that those who pulled back, whether it be from Glenn Beck, or whether it be from Olbermann, didn't do as well as Unilever, which was all in during this period where the rates went down."
It's no longer just enough to educate people about making healthy decision. You now have to influence them psychologically to effect true change according to CNBC's Jim Cramer.
Cramer, during his "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs" on Aug. 10, suggested eating so-called unhealthy food be demonized, similar to how the tobacco industry has been - through a publicity campaign that even appeared in movie theaters.
"I think that what people in the tobacco business would tell you that what really cut back tobacco was when people who watch commercials saw that they were being demonized and it became a really un-cool thing, I know they still do it in movie theaters and movies, a lot of that is paid, but that's what Phillip Morris always said really was the downfall of tobacco."
Invoking the word "crisis" might conjure up images of a Category 5 hurricane bearing down on the U.S. Gulf Coast or some other situation where decisive action much be taken to avert impending doom. But, is it appropriate to suddenly attach it to the key issue put forth by Obama administration, such as health care?
On July 30, CNBC dedicated its three-hour morning show "Squawk Box" to the issue and labeled the special coverage: "America's Healthcare Crisis." CNBC used the word "crisis" despite polls (including a July 30 Time article) that found 80 percent of the respondents satisfied with their health care.
While much of the country has been captivated by the passing of pop star Michael Jackson, the scandal of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and turmoil in Iran and Iraq, business news has fallen off the front pages.
"Remember when business was on the front page?" Cramer said. "We were on the front page for awhile. It was really frightening. It's still off - our whole, our whole - the whole stock market, the economy, we're all off the front page. We're no longer important because lovers, this guy Sanford - I'm not that familiar with his story. Those two people in Pennsylvania that were on the ‘Today' show and all those others."
"North Korea, Syria - I mean these are places when they always have elections, there's always a couple of people who don't vote for the right guy," Cramer said. "But I think the price of oil is going to tell you exactly how everything is going to play out in Iran, which is it's much ado about nothing."
Remember back in March when Congress had the brilliant idea to retroactively tax bonuses paid out by bailed out insurer American International Group (AIG)? The House voted 328 to 93 for the 90-percent tax on the $165 million in bonuses, but it later died in the Senate.
Steve Moore, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, explained on CNBC's May 13 "Street Signs" that the punitive retroactive tax was just a distraction to divert attention away from the culpability of Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., for the current financial crisis.
"Remember, Barney Frank was one of the guys right at the center of the financial crisis," Moore said. "I think he had a lot of the blame of this lays at his foot. He said roll the dice on Fanny and Freddie. So the point is I think that these Democrats are trying to redirect the populist storm against members of Congress like Chris Dodd and Barney Frank towards executives. So, I'm not so sure he didn't want that to pass as a way of deflecting criticism."
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."
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."
Before today, CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer was known for his outlandish statements and crazed antics that would land him in the public spotlight.
However, Cramer got one-upped today by CNBC's Rick Santelli, calling for something like a "Chicago Tea Party" revolt against the redistributionism that is plaguing our federal government. Cramer, in his "Stop Trading" segment on CNBC's "Street Signs" on Feb. 19, remarked it was odd no one was talking about Exxon-Mobil (NYSE:XOM) downgrade, overshadowed by Santelli's revelation.
"I'm sorry not be screaming about class warfare and how you should have your house ripped out from underneath you, but I actually get excited about stocks," Cramer said.
Don't like the notion of Wall Street employees receiving bonuses? Shoot the messenger - as Adam Green at The Huffington Post has done.
In a Feb. 2 post on The Huffington Post, Green said it was bad form for CNBC "Street Signs" host Erin Burnett to even think about considering the other side of the anti-Wall Street bonus argument, since some Wall Street banks received TARP funds, courtesy of the taxpayer.
"There are, though - well, how should we say this - the taxpayer money is not being used to pay the bonuses," Burnett explained on NBC's Feb. 1 "Meet the Press." "I think people could understand if you work for a company - right? If the three of us worked for a company, your guests, and I lost $10 billion but Steve [Forbes] over there, he made a billion dollars. So overall the company actually loses money, but Steve went and did his very darndest for that company and he made money. So should he be paid for his work? That's essentially what we're talking about here."
CNBC rabble-rouser and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer questioned the merits of Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary-designate, and told viewers on CNBC's Jan. 22 "Street Signs" that, had he been in Geithner's shoes, he'd face criminal prosecution.
"I happen to have a meeting with my lawyers just to discuss this - with my battalion of lawyers, the $2,000-a-hour gang - and you know, they would say if it was Cramer, I would be prosecuted, maybe criminally prosecuted," Cramer said. "And my lawyers were somewhat shocked that on Chris Matthews I said it was OK, given the fact they said Geithner better get himself the best lawyer in town."
Feeling a little bailout fatigue? Tired of the assault on the taxpayer from the federal government to pacify those influenced by the United Auto Workers? CNBC's Larry Kudlow feels your pain.
Call this red meat for the troubled anti-bailout soul. Kudlow, now performing a role as a co-host on CNBC's mid-morning program "The Call," blasted the Union Auto Worker, President George W. Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and anyone else associated with $17.4 billion in loans for auto companies announced earlier today on Dec. 19.
"This is a full-up pooper scooper for the American taxpayer, which now owns General Motors," Kudlow said. "We're going to have a GM cabinet. Barack Obama is going to be the new car czar because Bush basically pushed this pooper scooper his way."
The proposed automaker bailout has a big stamp on it that says "union-built," but the news media hasn't noticed.
Over the past month, accusations have been flying against several Southern senators who oppose a $14 billion bailout for the beleaguered big three automakers and support the the alternative of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. These senators, critics say, are representing the interests of foreign automakers that donate heavily to their campaigns. But what has been largely ignored is the other side of the equation - the influence of the United Auto Workers (UAW) on the members of Congress that voted for the bailout.
According to campaign finance data from the Center for Responsive Politics Web site OpenSecrets.org, when broken down by how members of Congress voted, for the 2008 election cycle the UAW gave more than eight times as much in campaign cash to members that voted for the bailout than those that voted against it -- $1.14 million to proponents versus just $136,500 that voted against it.
Drastic times call for drastic measures, and CNBC's Jim Cramer has a drastic measure that probably won't sit well with border enforcement proponents.
On Nov. 5 the host of CNBC's "Mad Money" detailed for his audience how he would save the economy serving under Democratic President-elect Barack Obama - under the facetious assumption he could be SEC chairman, Federal Reserve chairman and Treasury secretary.
Cramer's plan involves the government bailing out the big three U.S. automakers - General Motors (NYSE:GM), Chrysler (NYSE:DAI) and Ford (NYSE:F) - with a plan similar to the bailout of American International Group (NYSE:AIG), which was rescued earlier this year. Cramer would also give tax breaks to private enterprises that aid in the country's transition from petroleum-based fuels to natural gas.
On The Situation Room today, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer made a surprising admission to, of all people, real estate entrepreneur Donald Trump:
BLITZER: What do you think of his (Obama's) decision to pick Joe Biden as his running mate?
TRUMP: I really don't know Senator Biden but I know one thing. He's run a number of times for president. He's gotten less than 1 percent of the vote each time. And that's a pretty tough thing. You know, he's also been involved in pretty big controversy like plagiarism in college and various other things. That's a pretty big statement. So perhaps you change over a period of time. But when you plagiarize, that's a very bad statement. That hasn't been brought up yet, but I'm sure at some point it will. I'm sure that Sarah Palin will bring it up in a debate or somebody's going to bring it up.
BLITZER: Are you talking about plagiarism when he was running for president?
TRUMP: No, I'm talking about when he was a college student as I understand it, and this was a big issue originally but he supposedly plagiarized as a college student. That's a pretty serious charge.
BLITZER: I don't remember that. We'll check it out. But maybe you obviously have a better memory about that.