August 29, 2014

Forum to Focus on Europe’s Crisis and Possible Impact on U.S.

As Europe’s debt crisis worsens, American officials and analysts have expressed growing concern about the potential damage it could inflict on the United States. Many also wonder what lessons this country can draw from Europe’s difficulties.

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) and The Concord Coalition will present a public forum this Thursday morning in Washington that will address these and related issues, with a particular focus on the implications for U.S. fiscal policy.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad will deliver the keynote speech. The forum will also feature Stephanie Riso, a fiscal policy expert from the European Union, and a panel of four American economists: Douglas Elliott, a Brookings fellow; Simon Johnson, an MIT professor; Joseph Minarik, senior vice president and director of research at CED, and Diane Lim Rogers, Concord’s chief economist. Ed Andrews, a former New York Times economics correspondent, will serve as moderator. (See link below for more program information.)

“Because the American and European economies have become so interconnected, we must be concerned about the risks that Europe’s problems pose to our own economy,” says Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “With a fragile recovery, high government debt and unsustainable fiscal policies, the United States is not in a good position to withstand new shocks.”

While the United States is certainly not Greece or Spain, we can learn from Europe’s struggles to strike the right balance between short-term economic policies and long-term fiscal reforms designed to bring down high government deficits.

“Instead of more partisan brinksmanship,” Bixby said, “elected officials in the United States should be pursuing responsible fiscal and economic policies that would reassure Americans that we are not heading down the same path as the more problematic countries in Europe.”