Europe is epicenter for U.S. economic tremors

Commentary: But overseas financial crisis could prop up U.S. dollar

While you were watching the "Debt Limit Channel," the world was tending other business. Not very well. Bottom line here, for the U.S.: We are not double-dipping — not yet. There is very little forward momentum, with some of the weakest numbers since 2009. But we’re still moving.

The violent movements in markets are directly traceable to Europe, not to a new U.S. recession or to debt-limit actions. We have a workable budget deal. The opposing parties are back in their dead-end corners, where for the time being neither will do any harm: the right in pursuit of a balanced-budget amendment, the left searching for its cheese.

The July Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing survey arrived at 50.9 vs. 55.3 in June and an expected 54. The "prices-paid" subcomponent collapsed from 85.5 in April to 59 in July. The ISM’s service-sector gauge slid also, to 52.7 from 53.7, but any value above 50 signifies growth.

Consumer spending in June went negative, down 0.2 percent, with income rising only 0.1 percent. The July payroll report this morning could have been a lot worse, up 117,000 jobs, but should not be confused with "good."