Sunday, May 20, 2012
Camp David: G-8 Platitudes Don't Solve Anything
As pundits parse words like austerity and growth, it becomes increasingly clear that Camp David platitudes mean nothing and make no difference. Headlines speak of bold agreements: “G-8 Leaders Agree to Mix Growth, Cuts” that closer reading reveals to be hot air. When German chancellor Angela Merkel injects the word “growth” into her remarks, the press breathlessly reports a weakening of her austerity stance. Barack Obama’s insistence on both growth and “fiscal discipline” resembles calls for motherhood and apple pie. The new French President Francois Hollande pushes a financial transactions tax and mutes his election rhetoric for stimulus. His post election briefings probably convinced him that he cannot spook the bond vigilantes more than he already has. British Premier David Cameron nixes Hollande’s transaction tax post haste. Newly-inaugurated President Vladimir Putin boycotts the G-8 in a huff, sending instead his stooge Prime Minister Medvedev. There is no more idle talk of a Russian bailout contribution. Russia is doing well to manage its own crises.
The EU crisis resembles mountain climbers, tied together by ropes, scaling a rocky cliff. One (Greece) is balanced on a thin ledge. A few others teeter perilously (Portugal, Spain, and Ireland). They know that if one falls, others could be pulled along. One the climbers (Germany) has a knife either to cut himself free or to sever the rope of climbers about to fall. The knife-wielder fears he could end up alone on the cliff.
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