Great moments in punditry, Lenin edition

By Felix Salmon
October 15, 2009

Jim Cramer has decided that people upset at Wall Street bonuses are in fact revolutionary Marxist-Leninists, intent on “stringing up guys like John Mack and feeling great about it”. A brief edited transcript, if you can’t bear to watch the whole thing:

Melissa Francis: Jim, let me ask you very quickly: what did you think about John Mack’s answer to the big question of the day, which is the divergence between Main Street and Wall Street. We see Dow 10,000, and bonuses are back; at the same time Main Street is in a shambles.

Jim Cramer: When I took a Master’s reading communism we learned these things. I took seven courses in communism. Lenin when he came in in 1917 thought that the bankers were making too much money, and confiscated all the wealth. The peasantry felt terrific about it. The bankers, many of them, were killed. And there was a terrific surge of opinion that Lenin was a great man. It didn’t work out.

It’s very easy for me. I know that, I can do that rap, I studied it. I know most of Lenin’s speeches during the period. And it’s really about stringing up guys like John Mack and feeling great about it. I’m not being facetious. I studied Lenin, and I was very caught up in this notion that the peasantry should win.

Melissa Francis: Speaking of the peasantry, let’s give ‘em some trades.

Yeah, let’s.

(HT: David Gaffen)


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Let them eat cake.

Posted by Dirk | Report as abusive

Humble suggestion: Invite him to do a bloggingheads session about all the different flavors of socialism and communism. Don’t give him much time to prepare.

better fewer, but better!

Posted by bdbd | Report as abusive

I gotta few hundo shares of BSC and CIT I’ll trade you Jimbo. boo-effin-yah

Posted by Griff | Report as abusive

OMG…I was hoping someone else not freaking “insane” like this guy would pick up on this. I had to listen to this crap today (in the back ground) because I was on an internet meeting. Oh geeze so everyone who wants to see sane and “LEGAL” means to hold people accountable, who caused this mess, are now branded freakin communists?? This guy is out of his freakin mind. Evidently Dilan is getting to him huh?

Posted by jami | Report as abusive

I think he is right.

Every single complaint about the bankers focuses on one main theme, “greed”. It is bandied about like some sort of tar brush. Apparently today, being greedy is slightly worse than kiddie-fiddling.

“Greed” and self-interest are what makes humans work!!!
Any rational person looks out for number 1; it is human nature.
Furthermore, Mr Gekko was also right. Greed is good.

Without greed, capitalism fails. Step-up you pinko commie idiots.

Greed inspires productivity, innovation and creativity.
Do you really think Steve Jobs is out there designing the next wonder-gadget to better humanity??

I simply hate people who DENY THEY WANT TO GET PAID.
I want to get paid, everyone I have ever met wants to get paid.

If you are top of your class and the hardest working then I am sorry but you should be paid more than the drop-out lazy bum. That’s life. To suggest anything else is communism in my book.

Of course the bankers were paid too much, in retrospect.
Regulation let us all down. The rules were wrong. Those playing by the rules weren’t wrong.

Just because we had to bail out a few banks because the entire regulatory world failed to notice that the price of houses cannot climb indefinitely, doesn’t suddenly mean that allegedly “virtuous” drop-out slackers are the people we want to reward.

Naturally talented? Get paid.
Work hard? Get paid.

The American dream isn’t broken and we should never forget it.

Posted by Tiny Tim | Report as abusive

Tiny Tim – “Of course the bankers were paid too much, in retrospect.
Regulation let us all down. The rules were wrong. Those playing by the rules weren’t wrong.”

I agree and think the whole bonus row, being just a symptom, is taking too much space where the real issues, the roots of the crisis ought to be addressed.

Anyway, I was more struck by Cramer’s turn of speech:

“It’s very easy for me. I know that, I can do that rap, I studied it. I know most of Lenin’s speeches during the period.”

The man talks like a buffoon. Even if he may have a point to make, his impressive conceit made me incredulous. (did that whole second paragraph need to be said?)

Posted by vk9141 | Report as abusive

“The regulators” who “were the problem” were Bush and Chris Cox at the SEC who let banks lever up so much.

If instead or letting the ibanks increase their leverage, Bush/Cox had cut it, would we have had Bear? Lehman? would we have had rising subprime or falling subprime lending?

It’s who you elect, that was the problem. People who voted for Bush, twice, are the problem. Rant all you want. Have as many tea parties as you want. You caused it.

Posted by VennData | Report as abusive

Cox was an obvious tool of Wall St. Don’t forget that Harvey Pitt was a predecessor. If this isn’t the fox guarding the henhouse, then what is? Cramer and CNBC don’t have any credibility. I have to presume that their only viewers are Wall St. trading rooms that are entertained by CNBC’s on-air flattery and rationalization of their malfeasance.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Tim: You only mentioned one side of that equation.

If greed is good, liquidation is better! When you bet wrong, you MUST lose everything. That’s capitalism.

Bankers are wrong, Tim. Don’t like it? Then go run away to a communist country.

Regulation didn’t let the bankers down – the regulation was perfect for them. However, the people who are suffering are NOT the bankers – the people who are suffering are those who lose jobs because the “too-big-to-fail” banks are taking taxpayer money and NOT rolling commercial paper, not modifying mortgages, not doing anything.

Also, bankers weren’t “a little too greedy” – rather, they deliberately lied.. we call that fraud. It is MATHEMATICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for house prices to continue to rise faster than the rise in wages — even Greenspan knew that. His Ph.D. thesis was on the history of housing prices in America. So why did he promote it? He was greedy enough to take bribes and not care about the country.

Greed is good. Fraud and failure are not acceptable.. unless you are a communist.

Posted by Unsympathetic | Report as abusive

Unsympathetic, the relationship between wages and housing prices may have been economically unsound, but it was very much mathematically possible. The two variables are unrelated. Watch:

Wage(next year) = 1.05 * Wage (this year)
House Price (next year) = 1.15 * House Price (this year)


It’s not the greed.

It’s the corruption of their regulators, the gaming of the system, the production of toxic financial products to fool and plunder, the utter lack of business ethics.

And when the deeds are done and the economy crashes, they get the taxpayer bailouts.

That’s not greed. That’s corporate fascists pretending as capitalists, destroy as imperialist and got away being socialists.

Even the Russian mafia admire them.

Posted by The Real Deal | Report as abusive