Yesterday afternoon Planet Money deemed the widespread comment these days that "Sovereign credit spreads in Europe are widening" "the scariest boring phrase" in finance. A credit spread is the difference between the interest rate on credit for the best economies and worst. A widening credit spread indicates that a number of the economies of Europe (particularly Ireland, Italy, Greece and Portugal) are still tanking. Reports blogger Jacob Goldstein,
There is a growing fear that Europe has not gotten its financial act together and is in even more serious financial trouble. If credit spreads widen more, we could see an already sick global economy get much worse.
And if that's not unsettling enough for you, today is the 9th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, and barring any other major news, the media likely will be focused on whether or not the solemnity of the day is marred by further inflammatory rhetoric or action related to Park51, the 13-story Muslim community center and mosque proposed for two blocks away. Given that a Gainesville pastor with a flock of a whopping 50 members was able to generate world attention (and probably almost cause an international incident) by threatening to burn copies of the Quran, it seems all too likely that the comments of just about any nut or bigot will be quickly seized upon for the news cycle.
Which is why I propose that for the time being we have the financial reporters cover politics instead.
Jim McDermott, SJ