Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Cramer: Bears, Own Up to It

Tickers in this article: AIG C GS JPM MS
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Real Money on March 19. To see Jim Cramer's latest commentary as it's published, sign up for a free trial of Real Money .

NEW YORK ( Real Money ) -- It's not that the market won't go down. It will. It's not that the market isn't treacherous. It can be. It's the lack of recognition that something different is happening -- something different and better than what's been before -- at least when it comes to Europe.

Look, I have no doubt that, when the banks open in Cyprus, it's going to be ugly. I am sure some people will pull money out of Spanish or Italian banks. But what bothered me Monday was that, of the people I heard or read, no one who had feared a big collapse off the Cyprus news was "impressed" by the action. It was almost as if people were disappointed by the lack of panic -- as if, somehow, they hadn't learned their lesson about how bad things can be.

The problem is, maybe they have learned. As has been written most eloquently by friend Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, we are all tired of being scared. She was referring to President Obama as scaremonger-in-chief, which he most certainly has been about all things Congress and the budget.

By the way, the liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman agrees with Noonan about this -- the scaring, albeit not anything else that I can tell.

I think that, as investors, we aren't just tired of being scared by U.S. politicians here. We are tired of being scared by the ministers overseas, particularly given that our companies have done much to break the linkages by which they used to be hamstrung.

U.S. banks have pulled back dramatically from their European exposure. Sure, Citigroup (C) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) maintain a presence, and Goldman Sachs (GS) is active in the capital markets. But none of these firms can swing around the capital they used to be able to do, courtesy of Dodd-Frank.

JPMorgan is chastised by the "London whale" and has cut back exposure. Michael Corbatt, the new CEO of Citigroup, has said point-blank he's backing away from unprofitable markets, which no doubt includes some of these obscure places that are nonetheless potential trouble spots. Yes, Morgan Stanley (MS) has some exposure, but the new Morgan Stanley is largely a brokerage house.

While we all want to spot weak links in the system, do you think AIG (AIG) is still insuring financial instruments over there? Do you think our insurers are buying big chunks of European bank debt? Maybe some, but it used to be the staple, and I think they have learned by now, much as I believe the money funds have learned. Again, though, there are outliers.