When the Big O packs his gym bags for the G-20 in London 3 weeks hence, he’s planning to include a proposal to hike emergency government spending around the world, an audacious idea that might limit the Great Economic Crisis to, oh, say a decade.
That’s going to sound a bit loopy to Angela Merckel, Nic Sarkozy and Co. who think job one is to overhaul global financial regulatory systems, with something extra special in there for hedge funds and private-equity firms which they perceive to be the second coming of Snidley Whiplash.
The philosophical divide was apparent during last week’s Washington visit by Downtown Gordon Brown, who hosts the April meeting.
Brown was all about the need for the G-20 to “set principles for the banking system for the future,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
To which the Big O nodded, squared his shoulders and said his concern was assuring that G-20 countries are, in “a coordinated fashion…stimulating their economies.”
G-20 party-goers know the event needs to be choreographed so as not to give markets the dry heaves or raise doubts whether government leaders know what they’re doing, which almost certainly they do not.
So quite possibly this weekend, when the G-20 finance ministers show up in Washington, they will hash out the matter while the doors are still more-or-less closed.
If he sticks to his guns, the Big O can bank on support from China since it passed a hefty stimulus of its own.
But it’ll never fly for Angela’s Germany which actually tries to balance its books every year and passed a measly stimulus package after much hand-wringing.
Plus, Angela knows the EU might still have to bail out most of Eastern Europe, like it or not.