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Europe’s take on the super committee failure

Stephen Beard Nov 21, 2011

Kai Ryssdal: So I guess you can officially make it two debt crises in the global economy now — ours and Europe’s.

From the Marketplace European Desk in London, Stephen Beard has that side of the story.

Stephen Beard: Everyone from the U.S. to China has berated Europe for failing to get its debt crisis under control. So the Europeans may be forgiven for enjoying a moment of relief — at least someone else is in the doghouse as well.

But Stephen Lewis of Monument Securities says there’s little comfort there for Europe: Its debt problems are still much worse than America’s.

Stephen Lewis: The U.S. doesn’t need to act as swiftly as the European authorities because the consequences of failure for the U.S. administration are not as dire as they probably will be for the Europeans.

After all, one or more eurozone governments might go bust, and the euro itself could implode. Neil Mackinnon of VTB Capital says that isn’t going to happen to the U.S.

Neil Mackinnon: Ultimately, America won’t default because it can issue its own currency, it can print money.

And there is a still a global appetite for that money. Even after the super committee news, investors piled into dollar assets.

But Steven Bell of the GLC hedge fund says the U.S. is resting on its laurels. It should tackle its deficit now. It should learn from European mistakes.

Steven Bell: I’m absolutely certain that people will look back on this year of inaction in the United States and say: “Yep, we should have done something then,” because when you have to take the pain — as the Italians have discovered — the longer you leave it, the more painful it is.

He says the U.S. still looks in much better shape than Europe, but there’s no comfort in that for the U.S. — Europe is in very poor condition.

In London, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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