Europe's woes may help U.S. recovery

Economics editor Chris Farrell

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: You know, we've been telling you this week that stocks are down, in part, because of fears about a euro contagion -- the idea that debt problems in Greece could jump the pond and pull the U.S., maybe even the world, back into recession. Well, Marketplace's economics correspondent Chris Farrell -- he's not that worried. Good morning, Chris.

Chris Farrell: Good morning, Bill.

Radke: What makes you so carefree?

Farrell: Well I'm not carefree, but look -- the troubles in Europe could give added momentum to the U.S. recovery. Consumer spending is up and foreign investors are looking for safety and that means they're snapping up U.S Treasuries, which is keeping our interest rates low.

Radke: But wait, what does all of this have to do with Europe? I mean, I thought it was the euro is taking, which is bad for American companies trying to sell products over there. I thought it was troublesome?

Farrell: Well, it is troublesome. And I'm not celebrating Europe's trouble. But so long as we avoid a contagion -- what shall we call it, Lehman two -- then we have the price of oil is down, interest rates are down, money is coming into our stock market, our dollar is strong. That seems to me like a pretty good scenario.

Radke: OK. So Europe is making us look safe and like quality? But isn't Greece at least a warning to us, Chris, that government debt really matters, and we've got a lot of debt in this country -- public and private.

Farrell: Well, the simple answer is, you're right. But here's the better answer: global investors are saying the U.S. is nothing like Greece. It's the opposite of Greece. The fear, the concern, it's farther down the road. You know, basically, I think economic growth in the U.S. and Asia will continue to pull the global economy out of the doldrums. And Europe, they're going to get their fiscal house in order. That's what they're going to focus on. Now, of course, eventually our turn will come. But just not yet.

Radke: A temporarily sanguine economics correspondent, Chris Farrell. Thank you.

Farrell: Thanks a lot, Bill.

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