U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham accompanied Governor Nikki Haley and a team of other South Carolina dignitaries to Europe for the recent Farnborough Air Show in England to meet with representatives of aerospace industries. They served as business ambassadors for the Palmetto State.
While there, Graham was able to talk to business leaders about how European countries are hurting economically because of recession in that continent. He says that downturn is affecting economic fortunes in the U.S. as, “A lot of our banks own sovereign debt of the nations like Spain, Portugal, and Spain that are all struggling, and a European collapse of their banking system or their economy definitely affects us.”
Graham says some European countries are important trading partners with the U.S. and their recession is having an adverse effect on amount of goods exported from the U.S. because demand is down.
“We sell a lot of products made in America to the Europeans and when their economies are not growing their economic downturn affects our ability to create and maintain jobs here (in the U.S.). Why are they so in debt? They’ve made promise they can’t keep, they have loaded budgets, they have generous benefits for government workers, and it’s unsustainable,” Says Graham.
Graham says the U.S. must learn from Europe’s economic troubles and begin to take steps to make sure that America’s entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid remain sustainable into the future.
He says any attempts at an economic bailout for Europe will be difficult. Though 23 European nations use the Euro as their main currency, he says these nations have diverse economic systems.
According to Graham, “When we did our banking interjection in 2008, it saved the banks from collapsing here. Well their banks are far worse off, they don’t have a central government to make political decisions, so the European economy is very much going in the wrong direction.”
He adds that it all comes down to Germany and how, with its current robust economy, it will be able to bail out the rest of Europe.
Anne Eller, WCRS Greenwood contributed to the story.