The G-20 Power Grab Accelerates
by Gary North
The G-8 meeting (Friday and Saturday) and the G-20 meeting (Saturday and Sunday) that were held in Canada provided the world’s major political leaders a forum to promise the usual grab-bag of goodies that governments are clearly incapable of providing: (1) economic growth, meaning no double-dip recession; (2) austerity spending programs that are politically sustainable; (3) reductions in deficit spending by 50%, no later than 2013; (4) a percentage increase in GDP to match any increase in debt by 2016. Yet few if any of the leaders who promised all this will be in office in 2016. There is no way that they can assure the public that they can deliver any of these benefits.
The Canadian government had to spend over $1 billion (Canadian) on these two events, most of which went for security. The media were filled with reports on firebombings by protesters over the weekend. What was absent was any clear picture of exactly what the protesters were protesting against. For all their activities, the protesters did not get out their message.
To understand the 27-page G-20 report, you must mentally travel back 45 years to a 1965 Sunday-edition political cartoon by Jules Feiffer. It was a series of panels. Above the crowd was a pair of feet in Texas-size cowboy boots.
Q. What do you see, Mr. President-of-all-the-People?
A. I see a land where love reigns. I see great farms and great cities. I see men at work, children at play, women at peace.
Q. What else do you see, Mr. President-of-all-the-People?
A. I see the end of divisiveness and contrariness. I see small men growing large and closed minds opening wide. I see a rich harvest of book-learning and the arts.
Q. Tell us more, Mr. President-of-all-the-People.
A. I see Black and White in final harmony. Rich and poor, young and old, big and little, small and large.
Q. But what of our enemies, Mr. President-of-all-the-People?
A. I see love entering their hearts, I see understanding and good will. I see peace, sound and strong, hewn out of the rock of give and take.
Q. Is there nothing more that you see, Mr. President-of-all-the-People?
A. I see a mandate for happiness. I see the determined faces of millions – fat and skinny, tall and short, bold and shy – crying out as one: “Onward to the Great Society!”
Q. And how will all this come about, Mr. President-of-all-the-People?
A. I shall wheel and deal.
This is my favorite political cartoon of all time. In a series of panels, Feiffer nailed the preposterous theology of political salvation. Lyndon Johnson was the incarnation of this theology – more so than any President in American history. In early 1965, this faith was shared by millions of Americans who had elected him the previous November. Now he would end poverty with the War on Poverty. Now he would end political injustice with the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Also, that tiny nation the voters had heard nothing about, South Vietnam, would remain a stronghold of the Western alliance.
Three years later, he announced that he would not stand for re-election. In January 1969, he departed from the political scene, never to be heard from again.
What the “The G-20 Toronto Summit Declaration” promises to deliver to the world is comparable to what the boots in the sky promised in 1965.
RABBITS OUT OF GOVERNMENT HATS
In the Preamble, we are told:
1. In Toronto, we held our first Summit of the G-20 in its new capacity as the premier forum for our international economic cooperation.