OK – it’s not really much of a surprise. However, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has responded to the slowing economic recovery with restraint, not tinkering with interest rates and showing a continued willingness to buy mortgage-backed securities and long-term Treasury bonds. And that was roundly applauded by the markets, and CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer.
On CNBC’s Aug. 10 “Street Signs,” during his “Stop Trading” segment, Cramer explained that the Fed is acting appropriately and noted it wasn’t the Bernanke that was holding the economy back.
Who is to blame? It’s Congress, according to Cramer, with its complicated health care bill and even more indecipherable financial regulation bill.
“I’ve never over-intellectualized anything,” Cramer said. “Fed said good things, buy. He didn’t say anything. Also, Bernanke … I heard someone say he was good in 2008. What – did he like get bad? What, is he like Tiger Woods? Bernanke is delivering. He's not the problem. It's a Congress that wants to make it so you don't know how much it cost to hire a person because of health care. It's a Fin-Reg bill that no one can figure out. I got guys calling me at major banks saying, ‘Jim, can you help me with the Fin-Reg?’ I don't know the Fin-Reg. The Fin-Reg is impossible to understand. All I know is that it cuts profitability. Bernanke is not cutting profitability. He’s on the side of the good guys.”
So what will people buy? As long as there is a perpetual fear in the economy, people will continue to put their money into treasury bonds, according to the “Mad Money” host.
“Bonds never quit because a lot of people feel like we’re – look there’s enough guys that think this is 1934 – they will keep buying bonds,” he continued. “There’s this 1934 group of people, OK? And then there’s this group of people I would describe as being 2003 coming out of dot-bomb period.”
And for now, Cramer said the Federal Reserve under Bernanke’s leadership was doing everything it could to aid the economy, despite Congress’ actions.
“And what I would emphasize is that Bernanke – we can sit there and look at that statement and talk about whether it's Treasuries versus mortgage-backed. What he's saying is, ‘Listen, I know there’s no business being done in this country, and I’m going to do my best. This is a giving-her-all-she’s-got, Captain.’”