Interview by David Brancaccio
Marketplace Morning Report for Friday, June 8, 2012
David Brancaccio: For analysis, let’s turn live to Jim Kessler, a Capitol Hill veteran who keeps an eye on national policy at Third Way, a centrist think tank he co-founded. Mr. Kessler, good morning.
Jim Kessler: Good morning.
Brancaccio: So, the president, in the speech, was very focused on the European financial crisis, in his role really as, what, professor in chief?
Kessler: Yeah, exactly. I mean, he’s trying to educate the American people really about two headwinds that are buffeting our economy. One is external — Europe and their dismal economy and how it affects the U.S. And one is internal — which is congress and their dismal track record on passing jobs legislation. I think a lot of American people understand that congress isn’t doing a great job, but they probably really don’t know the extent of the problems in Europe and how it affects us.
Brancaccio: We were just talking to some Gallup pollsters last week about polling that showed when you ask Americans, Europe is far down their list of concerns.
Kessler: Right, it may be far down on their list of concerns, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a huge concern. Europe is in a recession and my view is that it’s going to be in a pretty deep recession. Our economy is not as dependent on Europe as it used to be in the past, but you know about 3 percent of our economy is related to European trade. It may not seem like much, but if there is real recession there, that would shave a point off of our growth, and the difference between say 2 percent GDP growth and 3 percent. It’s the difference between creating half a million jobs over the course of a year. So it matters.