Greek Debt Crisis

What European indecision could mean for the rest of us

Jeremy Hobson Oct 26, 2011
Greek Debt Crisis

What European indecision could mean for the rest of us

Jeremy Hobson Oct 26, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: Now let’s get to Greek Week — our special coverage of why Greek debt matters to the global economy.

Greece is of course just part of the story when it comes to the big summit going on today in Brussels. European leaders are hoping to unveil a grand plan to solve the debt crisis today — a plan that would involve expanding the euro bailout fund and trying to manage a Greek debt default without bringing down the European banking system.

We’ve got our regular Wednesday guest Josh Brown with us live from New York, as well as the BBC’s economics correspondent Andrew Walker, who is in Brussels. Good morning to both of you.

Andrew Walker: Good morning.

Josh Brown: Good morning.

Hobson: Well Andrew, let me start with you. What’s the latest there from Brussels?

Walker: Well, they are moving — it seems — towards some kind of deal; not necessarily one will all the kinds of details the markets would like to see. And importantly some news out of Berlin, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has been debating the issues with the German parliament.

They have voted in favor of her coming to Brussels and doing some sort of deal. It’s very sensitive politically in Germany, so it was important for the prospect of an agreement that Chancellor Merkel get that support.

Hobson: Josh Brown, to you in New York — what’s the significance of what’s going on in Brussels to us here in the United States, our economy in general, and of course to Americans individually?

Brown: Well, I think let’s take how Wall Street is looking at this first. So we’re starting to get getting a decent flow of economic data points; we had a pretty good durable goods order this morning, for example. The last thing we need right now is for negative euro headlines or developments to derail what is an already fragile economy.

From the individual American’s perspective — you know, they’re not following every little detail that comes out of Brussels, but what they don’t want to see is a European Lehman Brothers. They don’t want to see a frozen credit situation or bank insolvency here because of euro exposure. So I think most people would be happy if Europe could just push off making the big solution and get something done in the short-term.

Hobson: And Josh, as Washington watches this, are there any lessons we should be learning from what’s going on in Brussels in terms of our own debt problems here in the United States as we prepare to deal with those?

Brown: You know, a lot of guys here on the street are saying that what we’re seeing in Europe is really a preview of what’s going to happen in Congress when the super committee gets underway here this November.

If you remember, they pushed off the decision on the debt ceiling and now they’re going to have to make some tough decisions here and we could see something very similar.

Hobson: Andrew Walker, back to you in Brussels, is there any chance that they won’t reach a deal today, and if so, then what happens?

Walker: There’s certainly every chance that they won’t reach a deal with all the details fixed that the financial markets would like to see. I think the consequence of that would probably be a period of unease in the markets while they’re just hoping the European leaders can come up with some sort of deal that will eventually underwrite stability here in Europe.

Hobson: Andrew Walker, economics correspondent for the BBC, and Josh Brown of Fusion Analytics, thanks to both of you.

Walker: Thank you.

Brown: Thank you.

Josh Brown is a New York City-based financial adviser at Fusion Analytics. He helps people invest and manage portfolios for them. Josh’s clients range from individuals to corporations to retirement plans to charitable foundations. He is also the author of The Reformed Broker, one of the top 10 financial blogs in the United States.

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