Does This Mean the End Is Near?

It's something I never thought I'd see -- Jim Cramer and Warren Buffett agreeing.

I mean, Buffett is the master of value investing whose favorite holding period is, famously, "forever." Cramer, on the other hand, believes "there's always a bull market somewhere" and encourages frequent trading in pursuit of today's hot stocks.

They couldn't be more different -- so why are they agreeing? And does this signal some kind of economic end times?

It's even worse than that
It's not actually the first time they've agreed -- they both originally supported the government's attempts to bail out the economy. And now, after seeing the utter destruction wrought by those plans, they're both expressing concerns about the consequences.

In his recent annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) shareholders, for instance, Buffett reiterated his support for government intervention into the crisis -- but he had this to say about the effects of the bailout:

Economic medicine that was previously meted out by the cupful has recently been dispensed by the barrel. These once-unthinkable dosages will almost certainly bring on unwelcome aftereffects. Their precise nature is anyone's guess, though one likely consequence is an onslaught of inflation. Moreover, major industries have become dependent on Federal assistance, and they will be followed by cities and states bearing mind-boggling requests. Weaning these entities from the public teat will be a political challenge.

Likewise, Cramer was also an early advocate of these bailouts, going back as far as his famous 2007 rant urging Bernanke to lower interest rates. Yet after seeing the government rescue plans do more harm than good and watching trillions of dollars of stock market wealth evaporate, Cramer largely changed his tune:

We have an agenda in this country now that I would regard as being a radical agenda. I think that we had a budget that came out that basically put a level of fear in this country that I've not seen ever in my life, and I think that that changed everything.... This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President.

The kind of help we all can do without
Despite good intentions, virtually every government intervention into this crisis has, I believe, actively made things worse.

Shabbily executed bank seizures essentially shut down the already damaged private debt market. The bailouts created zombie companies -- too damaged to succeed but too subsidized to fail -- thereby hampering the ability of the surviving ones to compete. All told, more than $13 trillion has been thrown into these poorly conceived rescue schemes, crowding out private capital that knows it can't compete against the government's printing press.

Because of all the business-busting strings attached to the bailout money, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) , for one, is actively trying to dig itself out from under Uncle Sam's thumb. Imagine what's happening at companies that can't afford to give it back.

The madness continues
In the latest folly, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke committed to buying about a trillion dollars of long-term Treasury Bonds -- assets that Buffett recently described as the latest bubble.

It's gotten so bad that economists recently polled by The Wall Street Journal have assigned failing grades to both the President and Treasury Secretary Geithner.

But although the bailouts are rapidly undermining American business, they're creating an incredible opportunity for investors -- provided you're more Buffett than Cramer.

We're definitely Buffett
It used to be that if you found a company selling below its book value -- essentially what you'd have to pay to recreate the company outright -- that company was likely on the verge of collapse.

Now, however, we're seeing well-known and profitable companies selling below their book values. In essence, you could by the whole company, sell off its brands piecemeal, unload any leftover buildings and equipment, and still likely come out ahead. Here are just a few worth researching further:

Company

Net Income
(in Millions)

Price-to-Book Ratio

Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO  )

$994

0.97

FedEx (NYSE: FDX  )

$733

0.88

Johnson Controls   (NYSE: JCI  )

$136

0.88

Loews (NYSE: L  )

$4,530

0.75

Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW  )

$579

0.59

In any crisis, the time to buy the survivors is when things seem their worst. If we haven't gotten there yet, I'm not sure what that would look like.

At Motley Fool Inside Value, we don't like the circumstances that have made these bargains available, but we'll happily buy alongside with Buffett. This may be your once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy such tremendously strong companies at such cheap prices. If you're ready to take advantage of the chaos all this help has left behind on Wall Street, join us today. To learn more or start your 30-day free trial, click here.

At the time of publication, Fool contributor and Inside Value team member Chuck Saletta did not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Berkshire Hathaway and FedEx are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway is an Inside Value selection. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Fool's disclosure policy agrees with Buffett more often than with Cramer.


Read/Post Comments (55) | Recommend This Article (109)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 5:43 PM, lmcswfl wrote:

    Saletta, methinks you drank your lunch! You clowns on the Street, along with an administration that got us into Iraq, have been the cause of the lost trillions, not an administration that has just come into power.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 5:52 PM, Oldfashioned1 wrote:

    This is a rant. When will you and your comrades stop quoting "economists" either by name or otherwise? Is there anything at all to suggest they know more than anyone else? Unless you can quote their track record for good prognostications in the past, why should anyone listen to them? "It's gotten so bad that economists recently polled by The Wall Street Journal have assigned failing grades to both the President and Treasury Secretary Geithner." Who are they and have they ever been correct before? You would be better off grabbing people off the street (not Wall Street) and ask their opinion. Show a little initiative and a little originality instead of following the herd. You can do better than this.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:05 PM, starfish36 wrote:

    "...business-busting strings attached..." means what- that business would actually be better off had it not had it not been bailed out? Then let business do as you say and repay what the money that it took. The motive for rapid repayment is plain enough. Given the depth of the recession, there are plenty of opportuinities for strong companies to acquire weaker ones very cheaply. But tghat begins to raise a question as to whether the "strings" are tight enough. It seems that lots of "bailout" money has disappeared - certainly not having been used to buy "toxic" assets created by, well, yes, business people. Do we need strings to help prevent more such toxicity -- and more bailouts -- or do we accept it and move on?

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:14 PM, bmialone wrote:

    If there is a problem with the bailouts, it is that the money is going to banks, insurance companies, and failing passe industries instead of directly into the pockets of individual households and our infrastructure.

    Let banks, insurance companies, and auto companies fail and instead put the bailout money into the wallets of those who've been ripped off by credit card companies, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders, and provide for rebuilding our infrastructure and educational system, training and hiring Americans to do it. Provide incentives for creating products and keeping work in the U.S. since we can be our own huge population of customers to start out. Then we will see things on the move again as we work, spend, and new companies rise up.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:15 PM, QuailRun53 wrote:

    For crimmy sakes, the economy is in the toilet and "the problem" is the administration's actions of the last 6 weeks? Get serious!

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:28 PM, Thamyris wrote:

    Cramer? After his devastating exposure by Jon Stewart, who gives a crap what he thinks.

    And "economists recently polled by (Murdoch's) Wall Street Journal..." Gee, what are they smoking these days and blowing it out their rear ends?

    Oh I know - hatred of the new administration and its economy wrecking policies. As Imcswfl just noted, how about those eight years of the Bush-Cheney oligarchy that water-boarded the economy and financial institutions into insanity?

    Really - I'm beginning to wonder about the Fool and whether the once cute self-deprecating name has become a sad, self-fulfilled prophecy.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:45 PM, bmialone wrote:

    I should have included funding a single payer healthcare system to get it back under control. Until we face the fact the medical insurance companies exist for no other reason but to pass our money from our hands to our medical providers, taking a big cut for itself, we will continue to feed the parasite and continue gushing vast sums for which we receive nothing back but less quality healthcare.

    Blaming the current administration for this mess? Are people who say that on psychedelics?

    First, the anti-government, anti-union bashing propaganda launched in the 1980s by the Reagan administration greased the wheels for moving most production overseas. In addition, the useless and criminally wasteful war on drugs escalated and has continued to grow since then, draining trillions of dollars with no productive rewards.

    In the 1990s, the AMA colluded with insurance companies to shoot down any prayer of reigning in our healthcare black hole, turning "reform" over to medical insurance companies, who now also dictate our healthcare decisions and examine our private medical records.

    With no shame or even a pretense of shame, the last administration's eight years of cynical tax gift give-aways to trust fund babies partying in Scottsdale; corporations getting away with paying little if any taxes; deregulation of every industry we depend on for survival in the contemporary world; no limits on predatory marketing tactics (but then we blame the victims anyway); and the crippling of virtually all consumer protections while especially preying on the newest generation of unprepared, naive, young adults is what put us here. Don't forget, also, that it was the previous administration that gave away the first giant bailout package with no strings attached.

    Get real.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:46 PM, Dart65GTConv wrote:

    On Crammer. Watch the show for market insight not his picks. But here it is . The last few nights the true colors busrt out in full bloom. They must have smacked him around an ally somewere in NY. Talk about rolling over, all the sudden its all good. You lost me you FRUIT CAKE! Had my concerns. Your of my auto record Pinko!

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:48 PM, bmialone wrote:

    Until we think out of the box and change the status quo, investing in ourselves, the economy will remain in the toilet. The status quo didn't work.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 6:54 PM, kvrdave wrote:

    Obviously we just need to defecit spend more to get out of this recession. If that is the plan, Obama is testing it to it's limits. He seems to have an aversion to actual infrastructure in favor of funding more government jobs that will lose funding in two years. So at least we'll have nothing to show for it.

    It's all fine and well to take a political standpoint on your comments, but Buffet is a Democrat, and may know a bit more than most. Take his comments seriously and see how they stack up. Obama gave us hope on credit, backed by nothing but increased deficit spending.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 7:40 PM, pkluck wrote:

    The logic some people use is priceless. Bush spent too much so it's perfectly fine that BO doubles, triples what Bush spent. It's time to forget what Bush did and focus on what BO is doing now. From what I see it does not look good for long term economic health, you can't just throw money at every problem that comes along.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 8:08 PM, holosys wrote:

    Interesting how you acknowledge that Cramer is just an ever flip flopping stock market cheerleader, waving his pom poms to get rich off his gullible viewers, when you correctly state:

    "Cramer was also an early advocate of these bailouts, going back as far as his famous 2007 rant urging Bernanke to lower interest rates. Yet after seeing the government rescue plans do more harm than good and watching trillions of dollars of stock market wealth evaporate, Cramer largely changed his tune."

    My question to you, sir, is aren't you and some others on the Fool staff guilty of the same?

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 8:08 PM, holosys wrote:

    Interesting how you acknowledge that Cramer is just an ever flip flopping stock market cheerleader, waving his pom poms to get rich off his gullible viewers, when you correctly state:

    "Cramer was also an early advocate of these bailouts, going back as far as his famous 2007 rant urging Bernanke to lower interest rates. Yet after seeing the government rescue plans do more harm than good and watching trillions of dollars of stock market wealth evaporate, Cramer largely changed his tune."

    My question to you, sir, is aren't you and some others on the Fool staff guilty of the same?

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 8:17 PM, tfmeehan wrote:

    I wish that all of these brilliant "economists" that are chiming in now with their expert opinions would have spoken up a lot earlier...like a couple of years ago. Obviously they MUST have known, because they certainly seem to have all the answers now...

    And why is it that Republicans ALWAYS want to forget what their guy did and "focus" on what the Democrat is doing. You were willing to give your guy eight years (and 24 of the last 28. Yeah, I'm giving you credit for four years of Gingrich's "Contract ON America") But Obama gets barely 60 days? Idiots.

    Mr. Reagan and both Bushes excelled at deficit spending so the Republicans certainly know what they are talking about when they bring that up!

    Finally, I've said for years that Wall Street and the majority of the financial community are experts of nothing. Just a zoo filled with Lemmings, Chicken Littles and Copycats.

    Almost makes me wish that Obama WAS a Socialist.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 8:29 PM, tonester2k wrote:

    Blaming a 60 day admin for this is stupid. NOBODY has come up with a better idea (or budget) to move us in a new direction - that is what we need.

    Even Obama would listen to whatever you rocket scientists out there wanna offer up - just don't spout "let 'em burn!" and expect to keep your money when the banks fail.

    Deregulation and greed has put us where we are. education and health care are HUGE parts of the equation - how can you possibly not know that? All I hear about here is "the market" - sure that's what the site is about, but "big picture" anyone??

    The WHOLE SYSTEM has to change drastically - from front to back, top to bottom, or we might as well just tear up our "mighty dollars" and flush 'em down the freakin' toilet.

    And pay attention to the Chinese etc. looking for a NEW world currency, don't laugh or call 'em commies either, 'cos they own a crapload of our debt....

    Wanna pay up if they call our bluff?

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 9:04 PM, jesse2159 wrote:

    God,.....do the lunitics who write financial news ever stop long enough to understand that this is a deeper than normal recession, and it will be longer than any stretch of bad news since the Depression? The President had to do something, anything, to stop the downward spiral. I didn't vote for him, but he's done a very good job of stopping the free fall of the financial markets and Warren Buffet should be kissing his feet. He bailed out AIG (Warren is a big investor in AIG) Cramer, on the other hand, needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes he's interesting, often correct, but provides shallow answers to questions that need to go far deeper.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 9:34 PM, sevenofseven wrote:

    Pres. Bush bailed out AIG.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 9:57 PM, TMFBigFrog wrote:

    Fools,

    Bad policy is bad policy regardless of whether a donkey or an elephant is spearheading that policy. I cannot speak for the Fool as an institution or any other Fool author, but I personally have been voicing my concerns about the consequences of these policies since they started, well over a year ago.

    For instance, in this 2007 piece, I warned that the Federal Reserve and Congress were setting the stage for economic devastation: http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2007/12/28/dueli...

    In this January 2008 piece, I expressed concern with Bernanke's first panicked rate cut: http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2008/01/23/why-b...

    I spoke out against poorly executed bank seizures when they were happening (again, in 2008, before the election): http://www.fool.com/investing/dividends-income/2008/10/02/qu...

    And there are many more where that came from.

    I love my country, love my freedoms, and have been watching in horror (and actively speaking out) as Washington DC destroys the very foundations of our economy in the name of saving it. I'm not saying the destruction is intentional, but I am saying the negative consequences and side effects are large enough to more than counteract any intended positive outcomes.

    I also firmly believe that the only way to get the market and real economy to truly recover is to restore the rule of law, protect the truly innocent, provide the right incentives for banks to resume lending, and return the Federal Reserve to its proper role. I said as much, here: http://www.fool.com/investing/value/2008/12/18/4-key-steps-f...

    It's quite unfortunate that there are so many people out there who see things only in the prism of donkeys vs. elephants. Frankly, both parties have been managed by financial and economic illiterates for far too long, and those of us outside of the corridors of power and political privilege are suffering because of it.

    For crying out loud, the European Union President is speaking out against these destructive policies, calling them the "Road to Hell": http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-25-voa55.cfm . The 5 year Treasury Bond note offering was a disaster: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090325-712038.html . China is calling for a new world currency to replace the greenback, and the US Treasury Secretary actually came out at least somewhat in support of it: http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090325-715190.html . The Congressional Budget Office believes that the stimulus will result in lower GDP and lower wages ( http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/100xx/doc10008/03-02-Macro_Effect... , as discussed here: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/03/04/a-stimulus-bill-th... ). All that doesn't happen because some guy on the Internet posts a commentary...

    It's well past time to look past the particular animal a politician wears on his or her lapel pin. It's the policies those politicians enact -- and their devastating consequences -- that are increasingly becoming the problem.

    Best regards,

    -Chuck

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 10:03 PM, YEN4PESOS wrote:

    What A bunch of losers.... If I hear, " well he inherited this from the last administration and it takes time to work it out (snivel snivel)", I'm gonna puke. For Gods sake you Obama sycophants, This is the year 2009!!. The world changes in giga bytes.... The Bush administration and it'saccomplishments are ancient history... WAKE UP!!!! This clown doesn't have what it takes to unscrew this economy... and we have to endure this for 3.5 more years... Hopefully he can rise to his expectations asap... although I doubt it... Reason being,... He is from a mind set that speaks of Government control of all things pertenent, the Economy is something spoken of as a cog inthe wheel of government.... It's his whole view!!! Where he falls short of reality, is that the Economy is the driving force of a successful America with the Government as an independent cog... He's 180 out of phase.... It's from his BS education and Hippie mentors. It will only take a few more screw ups and I and millons of others who don't want to see America taxed into oblivion, or sag into a mega government based on Social Democracy, will have had just about enough of his razzle dazzle, showboat tactics.. And he may be the first president in our history to be shown the door.....

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 10:44 PM, matthunt97 wrote:

    To all the above pundits, it does not matter if the two Bushes, Clinton, Republicans, Democrats,or Obama are responsible for the current problems. What does matter is the long term impact of any proposed solution, does it work or not? Is it to costly? What I do see is Obama pushing a liberal agenda disguised as solution to the current economic quandary with the any objections from anyone poo-pooed and discounted as being a invalid. It is mostly pure politics and very bi-partisan. The solution: stop pitting rich verses a middle class (this is a classless society in theory), stop spouting health reform as economic reform, stop making government bigger, stop blaming bankers and financial institutions (many advocacy groups supported creative mortgage solutions to provide low income housing), stop the us verses them, don't rant about AIG executives (165 million) for taking a bonus and then spend 6-8 billion in pork (some old cliche about the pot calling the.....). Do the following: provide education to the masses (land grant colleges etc.), build infrastructure, provide opportunity not a handout, find common ground we can all agree on, and follow the golden rule....do unto others.....

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 10:50 PM, Jaycee5351 wrote:

    Forget the political stuff the writer features. Do the stocks in the box that are selling below book value

    merit a buy look see?

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 10:56 PM, hikerdude7088 wrote:

    People are sick and tired of the way they have been bitched by Wall Street, Matt! There is a lot of crime there and it needs to be uncovered. I hope the government can basically buy up the rights to see inside these investment banks. It will be VERY interesting to see where money has gone and who has stashed it away, making the tax payer foot the bill.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 11:08 PM, matthunt97 wrote:

    To all the above pundits, it does not matter if the two Bushes, Clinton, Republicans, Democrats,or Obama are responsible for the current problems. What does matter is the long term impact of any proposed solution, does it work or not? Is it to costly? What I do see is Obama pushing a liberal agenda disguised as solution to the current economic quandary with the any objections from anyone poo-pooed and discounted as being a invalid. It is mostly pure politics and very bi-partisan. The solution: stop pitting rich verses a middle class (this is a classless society in theory), stop spouting health reform as economic reform, stop making government bigger, stop blaming bankers and financial institutions (many advocacy groups supported creative mortgage solutions to provide low income housing), stop the us verses them, don't rant about AIG executives (165 million) for taking a bonus and then spend 6-8 billion in pork (some old cliche about the pot calling the.....). Do the following: provide education to the masses (land grant colleges etc.), build infrastructure, provide opportunity not a handout, find common ground we can all agree on, and follow the golden rule....do unto others.....

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 11:17 PM, matthunt97 wrote:

    Ahh yes, crime is everywhere, on Capital Hill, on Wall Street, at banks, at home, on the corner, and so on and so forth,,,,,but vindictive validation of a crime, or suspected crimes is not the solution. And yes are the suggested stocks worth look, a very valid question that is far removed from bipartisan vindictiveness and bad behavior by all parties? So lets stick to stock picks and maybe we can all become filthy rich HAHAHA!!!

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 12:26 AM, msgreen1 wrote:

    I'm a new subscriber and I'm second guessing myself. Saletta's piece is shallow, without reasoned purpose and reflects an obvious blind bias vs. this administration.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 1:02 AM, TBeagle wrote:

    Why some here will claim that the entire mess is the fault only of the previous Adminstration is totally beyond me. These same people obviously cannot think for themselves or they would realise what "monetising the debt" really means! It means we have nearly run out of credit and credibility with other Nations that are in the position to lend money! We will have to print the money for the $9,600,000,000,000.00 TRILLION Obama wants to inflate the budget by! George Bush never met a spending bill he didn't like and was anything but a conservative! Have we forgotten that being conservative means just that? WE CONSERVE? Instead Obama just doges the question during his last press conference and, once again, blames Republicans while giving a totally evasive answer!

    We are in unsure times and many economists say we are now in new territory and the outcome could be anyone's guess! Well I'm really afraid for my country and our way of life as well as our investment in Capitolism for the first time! It's time to call Obama and Congress and tell them where the brake pedal is! Yes, there is an obvous bias, but it's against this Administration for wanting to print batches of money to bail us out of the mess they hope top create. Fasten your seat belt!

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 1:16 AM, blackmonday2007 wrote:

    All Ye heatens bow to Barry Obomba NINJA loans and Alt A Loans got us here sure Bush was asleep at the wheel the last time housing bubbled up it took 20 to 30 years to recover in Beaver Pa according to a local broker; when politicians do not know what to do they throw gold coins at the problem; maybe now good time to learn Mandrin, China is going to own us all.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 5:25 AM, edvale wrote:

    Fed Ex on a P/E of 18!! Thanks guys. Firstly I wonder what the E will be next March and, secondly I'll wait until the ratio, based on 2009's earnings, drops to around 7 or 8. That's a long way down.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 5:41 AM, cadabra10 wrote:

    Do you watch the Daily Show, Cramer was exposed for the snake oil salesman he is, exposing his and others manipulation of the short selling and quick profit taking at the expense of long term 401K holders etc. As far as Buffet is concerned Madoff was considered a genius for his great returns until recently. These guys use their "expert qualifications" to drive the markets where they want them to go. Even a novice idiot like myself can see the markets are manipulated to bring short term gains to the "insiders".

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 5:55 AM, Jedermann wrote:

    lots of people complaining about obama's liberal spending agenda. pointing out such pieces of the budget as the millions in research on pollinating bees and lambasting it for being tree hugger legislation. but if you read the important news, not the sports column, you'd know that these bees are mysteriously vanishing. no bees means no food. no food means no economy.

    think carefully about each budget item. stop the blanket this side or that side nonsense. some items are wasteful, some seem wasteful, but actually are good for the economy, some are just plain good. and are these states going to turn away the "pork" they receive. no if you're republican lindsey graham, no if your liberal john kerry. think deeper. think issues. ignore articles such as this vague piece of crap from saletta.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 9:01 AM, rpprnotashrddr wrote:

    ...be constructive people... caahhmon!

    the white knuckles paired with anxiety, sweat and the periled 'game over man' look on your faces is disturbing... its not a good look for the youth... get it together. Why waste your time on the internet spreading fear and go 'hole up, up n'ath.

    You can rant about the sh!t sandwich non stop, and how its a sh!t sandwich and how you shouldn't have to take a bite, and who left it hear and who made it worse and on and on. Let's be the real Americans we all think we are and stop worrying about the bite, and start worrying if we should use mustard, ketchup or hotsauce... I prefer a hotsauce. It sucks but its the only thing we have to eat at the moment.

    Only thing I took away from Stewart vs Cramer is that, Cramer is willing to take a dive, and Stewart fancies himself a journalist from time to time. Cramer showed up bare knuckle and Stewart brought a knife. The Daily Show is not journalism... and Stewart in all his satirical glory uncovered nothing new! The sh!t is no secret! Stewart said that Cramer games the market.... but you know what... Stewart games journalism!!

    Is the buy below book value thesis good or bad? Is it a sure bet? or is it gonna bushwhack the investor?

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 9:38 AM, noryakerson wrote:

    Boy, for an outfit that has preached to the lay investor--don't pay attention to the "noise"--they are making quite a racket with much of their news and commentary. I hope to see more prudent investing advice and less political diatribe--or I'l start seriously thinking about letting my services expire.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 9:40 AM, robertf36009 wrote:

    We would all be better served if the bail out money went directly to the consumers with strings attached. Team Obama should have skipped the social engineering and given every houshold $75,000.00 with the proviso that they must purchase a new car from one of the big three to get the money. It would not have been more expensive and would result in bailing out the big three and letting discretionary cunsumer expenditures stimulate the economy. Those who chose to pay down debt would help shore up banks and loosen credit. This isn't rocket science.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 9:59 AM, snapperreef wrote:

    I don't think the great socialization of American business has been emphasized enough. The Card Check law (which is liberal coverup for non secret ballots for unionizing workplaces) now being debated in the senate is an example. One of the recommended companies Fedex is ready to cancel an order for 30 jet transports with Boeing. How will this affect the economy? No one is taking a lead in talking about the 'unintended consequences' of these programs.

    If Fedex and UPS are under the Teamster's thumb we will probably lose the only efficient and market priced shipping in the US.

    I grow more fearful each time I hear Congress is to go into session and debate one of these laws that "returns the wealth to its rightful owners" as Obama says.

    I haven't read all the comments so if this has been previously mentioned I apologize.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 10:18 AM, matthunt97 wrote:

    Lets all be honest with ourselves,excessive greed is the underpinning for this mess....and no donkey, elephant or anything of a similar nature can fix that basic human nature.....not that profits aren't "good"....With that said, I do like Johnson Controls; used to be an electrician and loved the service and product. So maybe I might go look up the P/E after I get heart burn from reading the morning news.

    Matt

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 3:57 PM, JoeKopec wrote:

    What a revelation! Someone's been drinking the kool-aid.

    Cramer is the official court jester at CNBC. All CNBC needs now is an audience. Let me figure this out. We're blaming Obama and Geitner for what the Bush Administration did during the last year. And. We're overlooking 8 years of creative destruction as in the cost of the two wars. TWO WARS. Not just one. And, please, do not quote me economists as authorities or authoritative sources. Or send me only amputated economists, a la Harry Truman. They are the only reliable ones. On the one hand and on the other hand. Give me a break, Motley Fool, the Fool is a Dunce.

    Please, MF

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2009, at 4:11 PM, foolsbud wrote:

    The Wall Street Journal's so called poll of economists does not speak for all of us who call ourrselves economists. Nor does Saleta's right wing rant reflect the views of all Fools. Dave and Tom, this guy is one of your writers. Any comment here?

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 1:28 PM, briboe wrote:

    Yes, the end is near...for my Motley Fool subscription. The worst investment of my entire life!

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 2:10 PM, freddyv3 wrote:

    Book value, historically, should be around 1:1.

    The fact that it has been significantly higher for the past two decades only suggests that it will overcorrect to the downside and likely stay there for quite awhile. Look at the 1930's or the 1970's.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 6:39 PM, stockquest9 wrote:

    A former Republican from birth, "your word was your bond". I no longer affiliate with any party. The "NEW" Republican's and party left me behind when among other things it adopted a philosophy of "greed is good" around 1980. Financial and Corporate America decided that short term quarterly profits at any price trump long term planning and results. Reagan, a great guy forgot history (Remember the Robber Barrons) and that other's integrity did not match his own. Naive, his Laissez Fairies push led to "let the unregulated markets rule", and the financial thieves agreed. Clinton jumped on board with one sided NAFTA agreements.

    Our US core economy, heavy industry and light manufacturing is gone all in the name of short term profits. A "no value added" service economy slowly bleeds to death (Economics 101) Without legitimate growth to meet its expanding budgets it must deficit finance. Illegitimate growth as in the 1990's bank failures, Tech bubble and housing bubble built on a paper sham economy of derivatives and default swaps are cooked up by unregulated banking and wall street capitalist crooks and peddled to the world earning ungodly commissions for selling worthless crap. Now the average citizen pays the price again.

    SO, this is what Obama is left with. A bankrupt shell of a country with no core economy in a massive hole and the financial system on the edge. We ARE TRAPPED. If we don't try and spend our way back to a NEW economy with new value added manufacturing, with exports, with savings in health care and energy then we are doomed to erode and collapse endlessly along with our standard of living. China will no longer bankroll us. It's All required to get our heads above water. But It's a "catch 22" and a crap shoot. I personally question if there is enough new growth in product development and savings to grow our way out and repay massive borrowings. On the other hand maybe we succeed. But massive printing, money devaluation and inflation will be the price. Do we have a choice??

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 7:11 PM, kahunafool wrote:

    Having spent time on the hill as a private businessman lobbying for meaningful change for the industry I am now retired from; methinks most people have no clue as to how it really works on the hill. Been there, done that, not pretty. All the Repubs did is enrich their buds' pockets by relaxing controls during their reign and all the Dems are now doing with their excessive spending is buying votes for more power in the future. What happens behind the doors is all horsetrading.

    The Fool needs to return to its roots of diagnosing the markets by focusing pragmatically on what is, and not as much on what may be. What made you different is that you marched to your own tune without paying homage to every whiff that blew from Warren. Not so anymore. Buh-bye subscriptions if it stays the same.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 7:11 PM, jdroadie wrote:

    RobertF has it right...

    We would all be better served if the bail out money went directly to the consumers with strings attached. Team Obama should have skipped the social engineering and given every houshold $75,000.00 with the proviso that they must purchase a new car from one of the big three to get the money. It would not have been more expensive and would result in bailing out the big three and letting discretionary cunsumer expenditures stimulate the economy. Those who chose to pay down debt would help shore up banks and loosen credit. This isn't rocket science.

    .It WAS so simple, and the dems would have won the people for some time to come....face it, there was NO way you could vote for a republican this time around...it had to be the dems, BUT trickle up fixes the problems in so maany ways and is much more immediate. Add a respectable energy policy to that and you have good fundementals going forward...to bad the y missed it...Jo Biden called it "we have a 30% chance to get it right"

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 7:35 PM, stockquest9 wrote:

    . Cramer,

    I listened to Cramer carefully on the Stewart show. I could not believe what I was hearing. I heard Cramer not only out himself but many like him in the industry and so the industry itself. He was somewhat specific as to the scams they pulled . I heard him cutely tout "they were just little shenanigans" that he and others did with other peoples' very hard earned money and retirement funds. I considered this nothing short of fraudulent in the market place and criminal considering his fiduciary responsibility to his clients. I suspect the statute of limitations have run out. But if not and I lost money with him as my broker I would look for recovery and put him in jail. I think he is likable and funny but crooks often are.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2009, at 11:20 PM, ratkilr wrote:

    To the people who say the Bush era is done and past history and the current prez is responsible are smoking their shorts. I dont care for all of Obamas adgenda.

    But the fact remains the Bush administration started this downfall. Let it escalate to this situation and at the end of his office he tossed out a bailout and called it good. Thanks Bush.

    The government should have been able to see this coming. With all their advisers and speciallists who are professionals in finance?

    I am not mad anyone. I am new to markets and now know what to watch for.

    In short...you cant blame the new guy for something the last guy allowed to happen over 8 years.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 2:18 AM, carolinacoast wrote:

    "We have an agenda in this country now that I would regard as being a radical agenda. I think that we had a budget that came out that basically put a level of fear in this country that I've not seen ever in my life, and I think that that changed everything.... This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President."

    Not a bad thought. We may have over-reacted.

    Cramer clips were shown on the Jon Stewart show. He recommended buys that have gone south, way south. He's b#llsh###ed his predictions, time and time again. Only a fool trusts his advice, hell, only a fool follows the Motley Fool's advice. Does anyone know why Jim Cramer has a TV show? Entertainment, not fact. Limbaugh, these guys here, Howard Stern...it's all the same.

    At the end of the day, how many of us, right now, could put all our eggs into BP, Total, Exxon and come out with great f##ckin returns? Or anything like these blue chippers. You don't need to view or read any of this as anything more than entertainment.

    And as for the doomsday mentality? Don't be stupid.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 2:21 AM, carolinacoast wrote:

    .It WAS so simple, and the dems would have won the people for some time to come....face it, there was NO way you could vote for a republican this time around...it had to be the dems, BUT trickle up fixes the problems in so maany ways and is much more immediate. Add a respectable energy policy to that and you have good fundementals going forward...to bad the y missed it...Jo Biden called it "we have a 30% chance to get it right"

    You've got it right. Trickle up should be the future

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 2:26 AM, carolinacoast wrote:

    George Bush's legacy will be one of what not to do.

    Good luck to all you disillussioned neo-cons, you're going to be ultimately blamed for generations, when this is all said and done.

    And to those House Republicans who conveniently voted No on the stimulus package, because it would pass anyway. 2010. Positioning yourself against it, is akin to Limbaugh hoping it will fail. If the economy improves before that? something we all hope for...then what?

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 2:29 AM, carolinacoast wrote:

    stockquest9 should run for office. He (she) too, has it right.

    Our US core economy, heavy industry and light manufacturing is gone all in the name of short term profits. A "no value added" service economy slowly bleeds to death (Economics 101) Without legitimate growth to meet its expanding budgets it must deficit finance. Illegitimate growth as in the 1990's bank failures, Tech bubble and housing bubble built on a paper sham economy of derivatives and default swaps are cooked up by unregulated banking and wall street capitalist crooks and peddled to the world earning ungodly commissions for selling worthless crap. Now the average citizen pays the price again.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 2:47 AM, apoorinvestor wrote:

    How are Neo-Cons any different than Jewish Democrats or communists?

    Neo-Cons are basically Jewish liberals. Are country is controlled by the same people regardless of the political party, the foreign policy will certainly be the same (wars and trillions for Israel) as will the domestic policy in all but name.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 6:39 AM, wuff3t wrote:

    "Your of my auto record Pinko!"

    Eh?

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 10:10 AM, SFLLC wrote:

    wuffrt,

    Dart65GTConv had a typo and meant "off" rather than "of."

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2009, at 11:22 AM, ralphmachio wrote:

    With all due respect, the illusion of a two party system has a lot of people confused, in my opinion. In order to sail against the wind, you tack right then left then right, before you know it, you did the impossible! You sailed against the wind! Sorta like taking a country in the opposite direction as the people want. Notice, whatever party gets elected, we get closer to one world currency, and government? Well, you guys are enthusiastic about predictions that come to fruition, no? 20 years ago, men like william cooper were predicting a manipulation to one world government, and he was not the only one. The problem is, our thinking has become too conventional due to too much TV, and not enough reading. The funny thing is, lesser minds will continue to call his type "kooks", probably long after he is proved right. Remember, at one time, not too long ago, they ridiculed men for saying the earth was round, the largest proponent for such ridicule was the church, and there is a very good likelihood that the church knew the earth was spherical, in the upper echelons. My point, open your mind, or be stuck arguing about who's cooler, Santa, or the tooth fairy. Don't waste another second of your life being upset over fiction! Don't waste energy on arguing with your neighbor when you should both stand together against the lying tyrants you all feel powerless against. Divide and conquer is weakening our ability to do what is right.

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2009, at 5:56 AM, db71880 wrote:

    As a foreigner, it amazes me no end that despite all the crises surrounding the economy, people can be so insanely opinionated in their thought processes, ie. along their political beliefs and leanings, from the day one, as if it came right from the teat.

    As if one is not part of a nation of sufferers but a nation of lobbyists! And that includes the MF staff.

    You have a one do-er and a thousand advisors, each with the axe to grind.

    Guys, as Buffet said on CNBC, this is a Pearl Harbor. Unite and lead the nation our the misery! Stop crawling out of the woodwork and try to out-shout someone who you is not in line with your political thinking! This is not football, this is survival !

  • Report this Comment On March 29, 2009, at 7:28 PM, SwingLong wrote:

    It could be that the P/B value is so low because there is something fundamentally wrong with companies. Perhaps, the value of the assets (as they are on the books) are too high.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 1:29 PM, MillenniumKnight wrote:

    To the suggestion that the government give out $75,000 to each American with a stipulation that each person would need to buy a car from the big 3 automakers. Assuming you would send that money to each of 330 million citizens, how would spending $25 trillion of taxpayer money on globally inferior products help anything? Do you see the debt that would saddle the taxpayer with? The runaway inflation? I hope you weren't serious.

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