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Spiegel Interview with Nouriel Roubini: Europe Needs Growth to Prevent a Collapse of the Euro

DER SPIEGEL:

Europe, says star economist Nouriel Roubini, needs to take immediate action to shore up the euro. In an interview with SPIEGEL, Roubini said Germany must provide more money to defend the common currency and allow the European Central Bank to loosen monetary policy. Otherwise, disaster could be looming.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Roubini, when you recently acquired a new penthouse in Manhattan for $5.5 million observers on both sides of the Atlantic hailed it as a sign: The man who predicted the financial crisis had regained confidence in the US housing market and in the US economy.

Roubini: There’s a bit of good news — and a lot of bad news. In 2011, the US economy will likely grow by 2.7 percent. That’s a robust rate of growth. The risk of a second slump has dropped considerably. The US Federal Reserve’s policy of buying government bonds and the middle-class tax benefits of the Obama administration are already having an effect. That’s the good news.SPIEGEL: And the bad news?

Roubini: The persisting housing crisis, the implications of this on the financial condition of banks and, above all, the high public debt and deficit, both at the federal and state levels. The US is in a dilemma. In the medium term, there is no getting around budget consolidation, otherwise the country will be threatened by a debt crisis such as Europe is currently experiencing. However, given the weak recovery so far, the US must do all it can to boost economic growth.

SPIEGEL: Tax cuts for the super rich, which are part of President Barack Obama’s tax package, are hardly going to create additional growth.

Roubini: And that’s the heart of the problem. The plan is a complete waste of money. It’s going to increase the deficit without doing anything to kick-start the economy. And, unfortunately, I don’t see any chance of this fiscal stalemate changing significantly before the presidential elections in 2012. The White House and the Republican majority in Congress block each other’s proposals, and there is no such thing as bipartisan crisis management in the US. I’m sure that the public debt of the US will eventually make the markets very nervous in the next few years.

SPIEGEL: Although the situation is actually better in the euro area, the euro is the target of attacks and not the dollar.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW

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