Europe’s contagious debt crisis

Europe’s global influence has serious implications for global financial markets, especially in the United States.

According to a recent report by Fox Business Network, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned Congress about the European debt crisis’s effect on U.S. banks and money market funds.

Bernanke announced that U.S. money markets hold “35 percent of their assets in European holdings as of February 2012 and remain structurally vulnerable to Europe’s debt problems.”

Not many U.S. depositors know that over a third of their money market assets are exposed to Europe.

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The economic turmoil in fiscally unsound countries such as Spain and Greece do not give U.S. depositors confidence that their money is being invested wisely.

Unlike the U.S. government’s billion-dollar bailouts of financial institutions and the auto industry, Britain will not bail out Greece, Spain or any other country in the EU.

Investors are waiting for key announcements in monetary policy over the coming week from the European Banking Commission and the Bank of England to see how developments in policy will determine which countries will get a bailout and how the value of the euro will be affected by these decisions.

Unfortunately, there is not much our nation can do to help Europe through this crisis. All we can do is sit back and wait for the European financial leaders to resolve their issues from within.

We don't have the resources to engage in a 21st-century Marshall Plan to help Europe.

This is a political crisis as much as an economic one. The Europeans need to confront several structural issues destabilizing their economy; they need to confront large government deficits and rules that inhibit the flexibility of deploying both labor and capital.

Many European states must come to the realization that a social welfare state has costs that inhibit economic growth. The question we have to ask ourselves over the coming weeks is: Do they have the political will to solve these harsh realities?