Meet the Press   |  April 07, 2013

Cramer: Big employers aren’t investing

CNBC’s Jim Cramer tells David Gregory that big projects and investment are necessary to bring up the employment rate.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we're back with the roundtable and jim cramer is here. great to have you in washington and to talk about the economy. let's look at the numbers here, the unemployment right now 7.6%, only 88,000 jobs created. you look at the context in terms of recent months, we have that chart as well. you have much fewer than we've seen. what's going on?

>> this is stunning. stunning. i think a lot of it had to zoo with fear mongering , remember we had peggy noonan on. the president did make people feel everything is going to shut down in the country because of the sequester. ceos were scared, the small business people held back, bankers would tell you that. only ben bernanke , fed chief, got this right. he seemed to understand that the k country's hiring is really coming back down.

>> but why? is it the sequester?

>> yes. it was fear that the sequester would cause massive layoffs. go back in time, a month ago, what was the rhetoric of the white house ? it was, look, this is a really big deal . everyone has to just stop and consider how bad this is going to be for the economy. the ceos have considered it and said, you know what, we have to hold back.

>> so what's happening with the consumer? is we know that the housing market is doing better. we know the stock market is going gangbusters. you look at those three things, what's holding back the animal spirit of economic recovery? had.

>> i think a lot of what we're worried about is just the sense that if we spend any money on commercial real estate , oil and gas had been going strong . that pulled back. these are the big projects. these are the things that put lots of people to work, and they're just not happening. i have to tell you when you speak with the bankers in this country, they all want to lend, they say they want to lend, but they're afraid they'll lose money on every loan. we know this economy is anemic. the only thing that's really helping is overseas money. people don't want to have their money in europe. rich people don't want their money in europe. japan this week, are people pulling all their money out of the local markets and coming here, and that's got to be harnessed.

>> and the debate about what the fed does now? the fed is not likely to change easing. it's going to keep its foot on the pedal here and make sure rates are low and that it's buying assets.

>> there was a parlor game about when the federal reserve chief will end this because the economy is so strong. only the fed chief seems to know that it isn't. if president obama wants to do something that would please wall street , please main street , please small and large businessmen, this week, reappoint ben bernanke . say he is our guy because he gets that there's very bad unemployment in this country. he has a heart, too. bernanke is an amazing man. he does not get enough credit.

>> what about the budget, mike murphy ? you heard lindsey graham say he see as grand bargain in our future. he's putting revenues on the table. how much of an effect does that have on the economy?

>> the psychology has been all wrong. the message of build a bunker is not how you change the psychology of a troubled economy. two things, i think. let the republicans keep pulling him right to spending cuts because that's the policy solution the country needs and i'll give him credit. he's read the clinton handbook and started to triangulate. a symbolic offer has begun. the more heat he takes on the left the closer he is to a real deal . that's a win for everybody. second, put the white house behind the keystone pipeline . no a.m. big ut. just go. those two messages that the president is going to become a fiscal center on energy policy .

>> there is a mixed message. if they are too tight on spending cut side they reinforce the problem jim cramer has diagnosed, at least, in terms of the sequester having frozen things up and also in the job number and jobs numbers month to month bounced around but the participation rate is at historic lows which means people are giving up long-term unemployment.

>> maggie, the other thing we know what the president wants is more spending.

>> right.

>> he'll talk about cuts but he wants more spending in infrastructure, to restore some of the education cuts. he wants to become a jobs president, let's not forget.

>> yes, that's correct.

>> we're talking hillary clinton , if she's coming off an obama administration where the jobless recovery is, in effect, taking place, that's not what she wants.

>> and that gets to a point i wanted to make before. i think if the economy does not turn around, i don't agree that hillary clinton is 100% running. if the economy is not great in two years, two and a half years, it's much less likely that she runs. it's harder to sell herself on that. that is a tougher road for her. i agree in terms of what the president wants, absolutely.

>> i think, david, if the president gets immigration reform and it looks like it might happen sooner than later, and he has come forth with a serious budget proposal angering his democratic base with by saying, you know, we're ready to look at medicare and social security reductions and cuts, and then saying that he is somebody that wants to bring people together, he's going to have a very good year, and it's going to be a good year for democrats. i see -- i'm out in new mexico, the economy is getting a little better, slowly. there's more confidence, better housing, more investment. and then hopefully we look at an energy policy which i think is desperately needed.