Wall Street CEO Wants U.S. To Follow Europe Into Austerity

The European economy is still struggling to recover from the Great Recession as its leaders have chosen to focus on deficits and debt instead of unemployment and growth. But at a speech in Miami, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon seemingly ignored the struggling European economies and praised leaders there for having a “will” to cut deficits that the United States doesn’t yet have:

DIMON: What I’ll say about Europe is they have the will. Listen to their politicians. Their politicians say, “There is no Plan B. The Euro will not be dissolved.” The way is very complicated and will take many years. The United States is the opposite. We know exactly the way. It’s something called like a Simpson-Bowles, we’ve seen a lot of different plans come out. We don’t yet have the will. The United States is a far simpler problem.

The “will” European leaders have is one that has wreaked havoc on the continent’s economy. The mad dash to cut deficits and debts has pushed country after country into recession, and the Eurozone itself slipped back into a recession in November. Eurozone unemployment reached a record-high of 11.8 percent in January, and 18.8 million Europeans remain unemployed. In Spain, unemployment rose above 26 percent at the end of 2012, and 56 percent of young workers are unemployed. Britain is on the brink of a triple-dip recession, and its lack of growth has thwarted its deficit-reduction efforts. Greece’s unemployment rate is 26.8 percent. Even Germany, the stalwart European economy, is experiencing a slowdown.

The United States, meanwhile, took a different approach, choosing to spend nearly a trillion dollars to stimulate the economy. As a result, America has outpaced Europe since the Great Recession. Still, unemployment remains unbearably high and growth slower than it should be, and efforts to reduce the debt and deficits are only complicating the recovery.