Jill Schlesinger: Eurozone bank failure could be disaster for U.S.
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Steve Chiotakis: Let’s get some analysis on what another jobs bill failure in the Senate means to Wall Street — and the rest of the U.S. economy, for that matter.
Jill Schlesinger is editor-at-large at CBS/MoneyWatch. She’s with us live from New York as she is every Friday morning. Hi Jill.
Jill Schlesinger: Good morning.
Chiotakis: Does this really mean there’s going to be nothing on jobs? I mean, tax cuts perhaps? Is Congress going to bail on jobs?
Schlesinger: I don’t think so, I think Congress might do something on the margins. Look, we’ve got 25 million Americans who are unemployed, marginally attached, or working part-time for economic reasons. You know, a lot of those 25 million Americans are voters too — I don’t think that escapes Congress.
Chiotakis: If we’re at this partisan stalemate, Jill, what can happen in the Congress? What can they do?
Schlesinger: I think that it really will be smaller things at the margin — maybe extending that payroll tax cut, maybe extending unemployment benefits. It’s interesting though, I think the economic impact will be limited.
But you know, funny — the market impact has been muted on this news because investors have really low expectations on the job creation front. Europe continues to be the pressure point on the investor perspective.
Chiotakis: All right, so let’s talk about Europe then for a moment. I know France and Germany say they’re going delay any certain proposal to address the debt crisis there. They had this Sunday as a deadline, saying “we’re going to come up with a plan by Sunday, and now it’s Wednesday of next week. They seem to be moving the goal post, right?
Schlesinger: Yeah, and I keep thinking about Lucy holding the football and kind of whiffing when Charlie Brown comes to try to kick it. And you know, a lot of people keep saying “Why do we care about this? What’s so important?”
Here’s the issue: U.S. banks have very close ties to the European banking system, particularly the German, French, and U.K. banks. How close? Well, the Congressional Research Service estimates that U.S. banks have loan exposure to German and French banks in excess of — get this — $1.2 trillion. And direct exposure to the PIGS of $640 billion — or nearly five percent of total U.S. banking assets. Listen, a collapse of a major European bank and we could have some serious problems here.
Chiotakis: PIGS being Portugal, and Ireland, and Greece and those other countries in Europe, right?
Schlesinger: Yeah, nothing good is going to happen. Just remember — a collapse of a eurozone bank would have a direct negative impact on the U.S. financial system. I think it potentially brings us back to the fall of 2008.
Chiotakis: Thanks, Jill Schlesinger at CBS/MoneyWatch.
Schlesinger: Take care.
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