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Julia Coronado: We don't know how long we can go without debt solution

Congressional supercommittee member Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) (L) looks at his BlackBerry as he heads into at House Democratic caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol November 18, 2011 in Washington, DC.

JEREMY HOBSON: Let's get some analysis now from our regular Monday guest Julia Coronado, who is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas, and she joins us live from New York. Good morning.

JULIA CORONADO: Good morning.

HOBSON: So Julia, how long can we continue to have Washington do nothing about this long-term debt in this country and still be OK?

CORONADO: Well, the problem is we just don't know the answer to that yet. I mean, right now investors are perfectly willing to finance our deficits at low interest rates in part because they're fleeing from Europe. But if Europe ever gets its act together, we may actually start to pay for our lack of fiscal discipline through higher interest rates.

HOBSON: Well, you mentioned Europe -- obviously the latest news out of Europe is that Spain has become the third country to "through the bums out" and get a new government. Do you think there are any lessons to be learned in Washington from this?

CORONADO: Well, the lesson that I hope that we learn is that we don't want to get that far down the road before we realize we have to elect politicians who are willing to present us with the difficult choices that need to be made. Spain is dealing with an unemployment rate of 25 percent and paying interest rates of north of 6 percent on their debt. So that's a very, very extreme situation and the sooner we deal with these problems, the easier they are to solve.

HOBSON: Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas, thanks as always.

CORONADO: It's a pleasure.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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