John Oliver calls out CNBC’s Jim Cramer for his bad takes on inflation

On Last Week Tonight With John Oliver Sunday, Oliver took aim at CNBC’s Jim Cramer for his take on inflation on his show Mad Money last fall. Cramer, like others, believed inflation would be short-lived and the economy would fix itself.

“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 Powell (Chair of the Federal Reserve, 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.”

Oliver pointed out that Cramer’s perspective on inflation changed dramatically in a short period of time.

“Here he was just 6 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.”

Video transcript

[AUDIO LOGO]

JOHN OLIVER: Setting aside the fact that he's speaking with an intensity level there best described as Patti LuPone admonishing a rude audience member, it's pretty clear that this clip, much like Jim Kramer himself, has not aged very well.

KYLIE MAR: On the return of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Sunday, Oliver called out CNBC's Jim Cramer who doles out financial advice on his show Mad Money. Last fall, Cramer downplayed the seriousness of the coming inflation.

JOHN OLIVER: Who was 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.

JIM CRAMER: The bottom line-- I don't think Powell needs to slam the brakes on the economy, despite what you hear from the inflationistas in the media.

KYLIE MAR: It wasn't long before Cramer changed his perspective.

JOHN OLIVER: Here he was, just six months later, doing a full 180 with a very different tone.

JIM CRAMER: I think that Powell may not understand. We've got to break this. We've got to break it now. Because this was the week where you realize that it is just inflamed, and it is not going away.

KYLIE MAR: Though Oliver took some shots at Cramer, he wasn't nearly as hard on him as former Daily Show host Jon Stewart who pounded Cramer in an interview for his shoddy financial advice leading up to the 2008 recession.

JOHN OLIVER: That was a pretty dramatic turnaround. He went from loudly unconcerned about rising prices to full blown inflationista in a matter of months. And quick question-- what exactly is going on with this expression right here? That is not the face you make when you're concerned about inflation. That's the face you make when you're watching a giraffe give birth.

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