The Heart of the Story

CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer’s now-famous summertime tirade about the collapse of the subprime markets captivated media pundits and bloggers, as well as close to 2 million YouTube viewers. With his soliloquy about the mortgage crisis as “Armageddon” – extreme even for a man whose default mode is manic – the former hedge-fund manager momentarily shifted the focus of media attention from debt markets to people at the “bottom of the income ladder.” While some cynics expressed doubt that the hardnosed investment guru really cared about the millions of low- and moderate-income homeowners facing the threat of foreclosure, Cramer used his post-rant appearances on shows ranging from CNN’s “Reliable Sources” to Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” to underscore his concern that “there are a lot of people who bought homes…and they’re about to be evicted or foreclosed, and it’s a problem for all of America.”

Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and the National Housing Institute, is the author of many works on housing and planning, including Bringing Buildings Back, A Decent Home, and Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective. He served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1999, and teaches in the City and Regional Planning program at Pratt Institute.


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