Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rick Santelli, Hero; Jim Cramer, CNBC, Wall Street and Socialism: Villains

Rick Santelli is now famous for his rant at--I think--the Chicago Board of Trade. That is where Santelli trashed bailing out people who bought houses they can't afford, and really trashed government bailouts of all kind. Since then, Santelli has given interviews that make clear he is on the side of the angels. "Government is the problem, and not the solution" prettymuch sums up what he has been saying, and what conservatives generally believe.

But Santelli has said it more forcefully and convincingly than almost any Republican out there, and than most conservatives out there. What is the problem with conservatives these days? Well, they seem to have turned back to Wall Street (the Stupidest People on Earth) as the source of their thinking. That means that they accept the idea that the Federal Government must DO SOMETHING to "solve" oour problems, and that if only the Federal Government will enact the right tax GIMMICK (which happens to benefit Wall Street), the stock market will rise 1000 points, and we will be fine. Give me a break. This is not good politics, and it is not good thinking. Rick Santelli seems to be much more clear thinking. He seems to agree with me (the gold standard of "clear thinking) that the first three options for government are to: Do nothing, do nothing, and do nothing. Oh, he understands that the government can do some things on the margin to lessen the pain, but trying to stop the pain with central planning is a MISTAKE. Rick Santelli and I are on the same page on this.

It gets better. We also seem to be on the same page as far as Wall Street is concerned. Rick Santelli seems to recognize, as I do, that the people on Wall Street are the Stupidest People on Earth--who then want to run the country their way, bailing themselves out, after proving they are the stupidest people on Earth. I say this because I listened to Santelli's interview on Hannity's radio program yesterday (a program to which I do not listen, but tuned in solely to listen to Santelli). In that interview, Santelli emphasized that he is NOT a "Wall Street" person, but based at the Chicago Broad of Trade. He made clear that the commodity traders had not asked for bailouts, or created these disastrous new financial instruments (derivatives, et. al.). Santelli made clear that he regards commodity traders, and the people arond them (the people cheering him were evidently mainly $30.000 a year staffers rather than rich traders) as true free market people, while he regards Wall Street people as the stupid, hypocritical fascists/Communists that they are. Santelli is exactly right. (Okay, I put my words in this mouth here that he did not exactly say, but my words--as I have previously defined them--fit what Santelli did say.)

I was aware that Rick Santelli ws the ONLY free market persona CNBC (the only one I have heard, anyway). The rest of CNBC is part of the Wall Street insider crowd--central planners all, for what they perceive to be their own personal benefit. Larry Kudlos, this still includes YOU (you fascist/Communist central planner you). CNBC is now trying to make mileage out of Santelli. Don't buy it. Santelli has been an outsider on CNBC, as he seems to recognize.

I have (accurately) trashed CNBC in this blog for the central planning, let Wall Street people run the country, peoople that they are. I have been previously tempted to say, in this thog, that Rick Santelli was the lone exception. Several times, I alomst inserted that comment in blog entries. I wish I had. There is a reason I did not, and that I lumped basically all of CNBC with the central planning, bailout, Wall Street villains.

That reason is that I have never really seen the program that Rick Santelli evidently hosts. I have only seen him as a panelist on other CNBC shows, such as several hosted by that fascist/Communist Larry Kudlow. Santelli would be brought in, for 30 seconds or so, in these shows to provide "balance" tot he idea that the government has to DO SOMETHING. CNBC, and the rest of these panels, sort of treated Santelli like a "crazy uncle". His comments were generally brushed aside--sometimes with the implication that Santellie really wanted the government to act, but just thought we should consider the free market alternative. Santelli has now made clear that he really meant what he said, and what the others at CNBC were refusing to acknowledge as an alternative. He really thinks that the free market solution is the right one. Further, he prettymuch appears to have contempt for these newly meinted, stupid central planners on Wall Street (and CNBC?). He is right on both counts.

Why have we re aced the point that a lone maverick (on his own network) is the most forceful advocate for the free market out there today (and I include Rush Limabugh here, because Limbaugh has gone too far into gimmicks and promises that the "right" government action will immediately save us for my taste--even though I recognizer Limbaugh as the primary leader of the conservative movement today)? Well, conservatives are so shell shocked that they have gotten away from the simple formulation of Reagan: "Government is the problem, and not the solution." Too many conservatives now seem to think that they need to explain how their government "solutions" are better than those of the leftists. Yes, I understand that their "solutions"--especially people like Limbaugh--try to lead us back to the free market. But once you accept the idea that the Federal Government must "save" us, you have pretty much lost the battle. In my view, too amny conservatives have accepted this idea, at least in the way they phrase their arguments. Rick Santelli avoids this trap. For that reason, at least today, he is my hero.

Santelli is even right on Jim Cramer. Cramer is the loud mouth Wall STreet insider with that unwatchable show on CNBC (unwatchable, because it is nothing but continuous screaming). Looking up Santelli on Google, I found an article correctly dismissing Cramer as a priest of the "Church of What Is Happening Now." I have never heard a more accurarate description of Cramer. Cramer has denied it (this kind of dishonesty being one of the many reasons you should ingore him), but Cramer is one of the gurus of the momentum trading that has ruined the stock market. Cramer believes in riding the present trend, and avoiding the presently "weak" areas. He tells you he relies on the "fundamentals". Do not believe him. He lies. He is, indeed, a priest of the Church of What Is Happening NOw. Santelli is exactly right again, and right again when he says that the problem with that approach is that it is right until it is wrong. Once the fad, momentum stocks get hit, there is no bottom. It is a terrible long term stra=tegy, especially when everone is playing it, aand as a short term strategy it ruins the stock market for everyone (once it takes over, as it now has).

P.S. Cramer's one saving grace, and the only thing I have praised him for, is that he recognizes that something has to be done about short selling. Short selling is the new way that momentum traders and hedge funds are using in their short term, computer trading methods. Unrestricted short selling is one of the factors that has pretty much ruined the stock market. The one area Santelli has not mentioned, although he has not said anything wrong either, is that commodity traders are not fully immune from the modern age of momentum trading. The ONLY explanation for the spike of oil prices to $147 dollars a barrel was momentum trading. The difference with coomodity traders is that they have not whined to be "bailed out", or tried to get the country to lef them rule the country for their own benefit. Santelli sees the corruption in Wall Street clearly, and for that alone he is a hero.

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