Greenspan Says Greece Default ‘Almost Certain,’ May Trigger U.S. Recession
Greek government bonds slumped, pushing the yield on the two-year note above 30 percent for the first time, as Prime Minister George Papandreou’s failure to win support for more austerity fueled speculation the European country will fail to meet its obligations. More than 20,000 people protested in Athens this week against wage reductions and tax increases, with police using tear gas on crowds and strikes paralyzing ports, banks, hospitals and state-run companies.
The chances of Greece defaulting are “so high that you almost have to say there’s no way out,” said Greenspan, who ran the central bank from 1987 to 2006. That may leave some U.S. banks “up against the wall.”
U.S. lawmakers are wrangling over spending cuts and budget reforms as they seek an agreement to increase the $14.3 trillion debt limit before Aug. 2, the date on which the Treasury Department said it will have exhausted its borrowing authority.
The U.S. debt issue is becoming “horrendously dangerous,” said Greenspan, who added he doubts lawmakers have another year or two to solve it.