1. The crisis could mean fewer U.S. jobs.
The crisis could hurt U.S. exports to Europe, which in turn would mean fewer U.S. jobs. When the euro falls against the dollar, American products get more expensive in Europe. What's more, if the debt problems spill over into Europe's broader economy, Europeans will buy less stuff overall -- including less American-made stuff. About a fifth of our exports go to Europe.
2. The U.S. is the biggest funder of the IMF, so taxpayers are on the hook for a chunk of the IMF bailouts.
Rep. Mark Kirk, who worked for the World Bank during Mexico's 1982 debt crisis, now sits on the House Appropriations Committee that oversees IMF funds. He's called for Congressional hearings on the IMF's ability to handle a broader European collapse, this morning's New York Times reports.
3. Europe's problems are a reminder that, sooner or later, the bell may toll for us.
Here's how the economist Ken Rogoff put it on All Things Considered yesterday:
We Americans, you know, love to borrow. And Greece was doing that merrily for years, and then wham, they got hit. And I don't think our day of reckoning will look like this, but it will come when we have to face higher interest rates, we have to tighten our belts, and we might think it's not so easy when it happens to us.
Rogoff also talked about this issue when he was on the Planet Money podcast back in February.
"If the United States thinks this can't happen here, think again," he said. "When the investment community loses faith in you, it can happen so fast."