The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The decisions of the Super Committee are likely to have more far-reaching implications than are currently envisioned, as the deliberations have been cast only in political terms by the media. There are, however, significant long-term economic implications. As we have seen over the past couple of weeks in Europe, contagion can spread like wildfire. The bond yield spreads to U.S. Treasuries or German Bunds on all European peripheral country debt, and even on the debt of AAA rated (at this writing) France, have widened significantly and are displaying huge volatility depending on the day's headlines.
U.S. Debt Crisis: What's the End Game? ), there still exists a "flight to the lowest perceived risk" (formerly known as "flight to quality"), when crisis and uncertainty rear their ugly heads. Investor willingness to hold your currency and paper; The ability to print money to purchase foreign assets -- without paying any interest; Easy issuance of debt and worldwide acceptance; Deeper financial markets ultimately benefiting your financial institutions; Conducting trade in your currency which avoids exchange rate risk and benefits your exporters. Think of what could happen to the U.S. without reserve currency status. Like what has already happened in the European periphery countries, interest rates would rise. This will occur even if the U.S. shares reserve currency status, which is the most likely initial scenario. I (see Wow-II! That's A Lot of Interest! ) and other prominent economists have estimated the cost of debt in the U.S. if rates rise. Some possible scenarios are truly frightening in that the cost of the debt relative to the federal budget and GDP could put the U.S.'s debt burden on par with or higher than that of Greece, Italy and the other countries involved in Europe's debt crisis.
For sure, as I opined in the above referenced blog on Dec. 1, 2010, "
g iven the structural nature of the deficit and the difficulty of slowing or reversing defense costs or the costs of 'social' categories, even small upward changes in interest rates ... will exacerbate the deficit and economic growth issues." Thus, preserving reserve currency status, just for the lower interest rates that accompany it, is critical.