With the recent G20 meeting held in Mexico, the decision by European central banks to slash interest rates, and the ongoing debates about the future of the Euro and the best way to reduce deficits, we thought we’d throw the question open to our panelists. Out of Europe, Latin America, North America and Asia, which region did our respondents think had the weakest economy and why? And what, from their perspective, needs to be done to solve that region’s problems?
Though respondents were far from unanimous when it came to deciding which region had the weakest economy, most, citing ongoing news reports about its debt and the future of its currency, suggested that the weakest economic region was Europe. Interestingly, when asked to explain what they thought needed to happen to improve the situation there, there was some difference of opinion as to whether more stringent austerity measures or increased public spending was the correct way to overcome current problems. Most suggested Europe needed to tighten its belt, but some argued that people needed to start spending to kick-start European economies.
Interestingly, some respondents linked their proposed resolution of Europe’s problems to the situation in the U.S., suggesting an implicit acknowledgement that the U.S. was traveling down the same fiscal road as Europe. These respondents argued that potential solutions applied to Europe should also be applied here, indicating a fear that without global leaders taking decisive action, the U.S. was still in a vulnerable position economically.
(Click on each argument, below, to see more quotes.)
World economies: what's your view?
“Several countries in Europe have been operating with a socialist government for many years and are now going broke. They need to help people work and operate business and rely less on government to solve their financial and health issues.” Terese, Chesterfield, VA
“The EU countries are needing bailouts. Cut the government entitlements. Socialism is great until you run out of other people’s money.” Anon
“So many countries in Europe are on the brink of bankruptcy according to news reports. Greece, Spain, Italy... Just like the USA, we need to live within our means and stop borrowing. ” Anon
“Countries in Europe are falling apart the euro is losing value. Same thing as in the USA for big government to mind their own businesses and stop stealing from its people.” Anon
“Low industrial production, low demand for their goods, and irrational governmental policies are heading straight to the cliff. Quit rewarding the losers and lay-abouts of society. Don't need to starve them to death, but the unemployed should not be living better than someone working.” Jim A. Alaska
“The massive debt that many of the countries have accumulated is causing their economies to flounder. Reduce government spending and rules that make it difficult for business to grow and create jobs. This will be painful for a few years, but is the only reasonable long term solution to their problem and for that matter ours.” Bruce, San Diego, CA
“They’re currently having an economic slow-down, issues paying their debt because of social programs and a major banking/real estate problem. Spur economic growth and reduce social programs. Create incentives for business to hire.” William, NY
“Necessary to maintain profitability: lessen business restrictions, reduce taxes, place burden of regulations on individual States.” Marv. Tickle Laguna Woods, CA
“Their level of debt is unsustainable. It is a question of if (not when) they collapse. The first domino (Greece) has already fallen and Spain is about to be next. You can't kick the can down the road forever. Drastic immediate austerity. They need to dramatically reassess what they expect from the state. They need to realize that if you want a social welfare state the bill will eventually come due.” James P , Southington, CT
“Too many problems within the EU. The EU needs to settle the currency situation first. Then each country needs to begin being accountable for their spending habits and begin an austere budget, bringing into alignment all the areas which created the problems in the beginning.” Anon
“Eurozone...it's in the news all day long. Less austerity and more spending by the government for the people.” Anon
“Economy isn't my strong suit. I know there is big trouble due to Europe's government cutting back on spending which the Paul Ryan budget wants the US to emulate. Europe needs to invest in its own economy, as does the US. Both countries need to hire more public sector employees such as police, firefighters, teachers, etc. Also, we both need to spend on national infrastructure and put millions back to work.” Anon
“The international media keeps reporting (dwelling on) how bad Greece and a few other Euro-based economies are doing and predicting disaster every day 24/7…the worrywarts and cheapskates need to start spending money again instead of hoarding it.”Bruce, Tallahassee, FL