On the return of Last Week Tonight With John Oliver on Sunday, Oliver called out CNBC’s Jim Cramer for doling out bad financial advice on Mad Money. Last fall, Cramer told his audience not to worry about inflation. Though Oliver called out Cramer specifically, he acknowledged that Cramer was not alone in his line of thinking.
“Most economists thought inflation would go away on its own. And some of the loudest voices on Wall Street were arguing against the Fed raising interest rates because they too thought inflation would be transitory,” Oliver said. “For instance, here is Jim Cramer — the answer to the question, what if a garbage can full of cocaine and business school pamphlets wished to be a real boy? — making that very argument in November of last year.”
Oliver then played a clip of Cramer saying, “The bottom line, I don’t think [Federal Reserve Chair Jerome] Powell needs to slam the brakes on the economy, despite what you hear from the inflationistas in the media, the weight of the evidence is finally going Powell’s way. Team transitory is going to win. I say stop freaking about inflation.”
“OK, setting aside the fact that he’s speaking with an intensity level there, best described as Patti Lupone admonishing a rude audience member,” Oliver said in response, “it’s pretty clear that this clip, much like Jim Cramer himself, has not aged very well.”
As Oliver pointed out, it wasn’t long before Cramer’s perspective on inflation changed dramatically.
“Here he was just six months later,” Oliver said, “doing a full 180 with a very different tone.” “I think that Powell may not understand, we gotta break this. We gotta break it now,” Cramer said. “Because this was the week where you realized that it is just inflamed, and it is not going away. I was shocked. I didn’t know that it’s as bad as it is.”
And though Oliver took some shots at Cramer, he wasn’t nearly as hard on Cramer as his former Daily Show colleague, Jon Stewart, who eviscerated Cramer in an interview over his shoddy financial advice leading up to the 2008 recession.
“Wow. That was a pretty dramatic turnaround,” Oliver said. “He went from loudly unconcerned about rising prices to full-blown inflationista in a matter of months.”
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