Howard Davidowitz joined us on TechTicker earlier this week. Here, Aaron Task asks him about the coming austerity and dollar crisis:
U.S. stocks are rallying today after Ireland announced a new $20 billion austerity package aimed at getting its debt crisis under control. The Irish government plans to cut spending and raise taxes over the next four years.
The move helps the country meet requirements for a EU/IMF rescue package, which Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen says will likely be around 85 billion euros.
Howard Davidowitz, a corporate restructuring professional, is encouraged by Ireland’s “positive action.” The key in any restructuring, he says, is to “make hard decisions,” which it looks like Ireland is prepared to do.
Unfortunately for Europe, the crisis doesn’t end with Ireland. Interest rates in Spain, Portugal and Greece (already the recipient of bailout) are rising. Davidowitz says the situation in Spain is increasingly troublesome thanks to a 20% unemployment rate and housing crash.
Don’t be surprised to see the “PIIGS” announce more austerity measures in the future.
The situation in Europe, and specifically Ireland, is very similar to what’s happened in the United States, Davidowitz notes. The only major difference is the U.S. can still borrow very cheaply. But, unlike Europe we’ve “done nothing! Nothing!” to get spending under control. He fears “the U.S. dollar is at risk” and could face a crisis “in the next two years,” if we don’t start our own austerity plan.
Step one, he says: End quantitative easing and allow the Bush-Era tax cuts to expire. “I don’t think we should cut taxes for anybody,” says Davidowitz, noting we could have paid for the $3.8 trillion deficit-cutting plan the President’s commission is recommending by not passing the Bush tax cuts in the first place.