PeraclesPlease: The Polls Again. Sigh
Whoo-boy. Another fun day on Wall Street. I just got done watching another episode of Jim Cramer's Mad Money and I gotta vent a little bit here.
I like Cramer. A lot of people think he's a buffoon, but I think he's incredibly smart, and he entertains and informs like few others in the business. And there is no denying his stellar record as a hedge fund manager in his former career (though I would venture that a lot of the practices he now rails against as a voice for the common man- like naked short selling - helped contribute to a lot of that performance).
But Cramer's really beginning to annoy me. This year, i feel like he's called the bottom at least a half-dozen times. Even from a short-term trading perspective, he's been wrong on a lot of those calls, and obviously, from a longer-term perspective, he's been painfully pollyannish.
Back in February, I wrote Cramer a long email saying he was being too cavalier and stating my concerns about the market. Among other things, I wrote:
Bubbles and market extremes that crash or turn the other way do not end softly or easily or without massive damage. The pendulum always swings to the other side and a buying opportunity (which will eventually arise) doesn't appear until much of that damage has been felt and this gets way worse than people imagined. We are still in the early throes of this current crisis. We still haven't seen any bankruptcies. Foreclosures and defaults have been at a minimum. The job market has only just begun to show signs of strain. The pain will of course spread to the rest of the world, which is wallowing in our debt and weak dollar, causing a global slowdown. Much more damage will be done, many more shoes will drop.I guarantee you this: we haven't seen the lows yet. At best, we are probably a little more than halfway done with the selling.In six months we will be wondering how anyone ever thought that the January selloff marked the bottom of this market - a bottom that came less than three months and 20 percent off the market's ALL-TIME HIGH?!?!?!?!? (doesn't seem like a very good bottom to me)
Not surprisingly, Cramer never responded to me. One of the best things about Cramer used to be his ability to admit he was wrong (When he first created Thestreet.com financial website, his column was in fact even called Wrong!). He understood that Mister Market was a humbling beast, that one day you'd think you got it all down, and the next it'd have you whimpering in the corner like a scolded puppy.
But you don't hear mea culpas much from Cramer anymore. Because he's on every day, Cramer can and does change his mind about the market so often that he can claim he's 'right' no matter what happens.
I don't really want to castigate Cramer. He's been right a lot in his career and obviously made a lot of money in his lifetime, while I'm a nobody who can't even begin to count all the times I've been wrong in my short career. All I'm asking for is a little more humility and a recognition that maybe his show is better served as a vehicle for entertainment and education rather than making money.