While international attention has been focused on Greece’s debt crisis and the riots that have ensued over austerity measures, the possibility of the United States finding itself in the same situation is one to be considered a legitimate possibility says CNBC CME Group floor reporter Rick Santelli.
On CNBC’s May 7 “Squawk Box,” host Joe Kernen pointed out the fear of contagion spreading throughout the world economy has been a focus, but asked Santelli if anything could be discerned from the Greek situation that would apply to the American economy.
“Well, you remember the Christmas Carol?” Santelli said. “You know, Greece is our Ghost of the Future. It's a future that doesn't have to be -- but if we don't make some changes in the here and now, we will ultimately end up not quite like Greece but let me tell you something austerity is not a GDP enhancer and I think a lot of what's going on with the issues in Greece are a lot like upside down mortgages. They tend to keep re-defaulting. I think it's not even the medicine. Austerity in a lot of countries isn't going to help the global economy. And I think -- I don't know how realistic people are being about the possibilities that it's just going to be tougher to create GDP over the next several years.”
And with the turmoil in Europe and the unresponsive European Central Bank, the crisis has had a direct effect on U.S. bond rates.
“It’s weird though, Rick,” Kernen replied. “Once again our march to 5 percent on the long bond has been put on hold again. It looks like, and suddenly, we're going to continue to have -- I don't know whether it is good for us to keep getting all this cheap money but it not going to happen right away again.”
Santelli pointed to current Treasury bond yields and how that’s not immediately influencing fiscal behavior domestically. But he reiterated that those who control policy ultimately determine the country’s long-term prognosis.
“Hey you know, I guess there's a lot of people we could call and say when they kept sending you those credit cards in the mail with those teaser rates and you were buying things – that was kind of enjoyable along the way,” Santelli said. “Now, it doesn't mean we have to end up that way, but certainly a 2.23 five-year, a three-and-a-half 10-year isn’t going to put any pressure on those that spend money to think about it anymore. You know, it would probably be better if it was higher, but world forces are a bit upside down at this point.”