G20 Plans One Foot On The Brake, The Other On The Gas Pedal. Will They Blow Up The Global Economy?

You really can't blame them for not listening. After all, the U.S. is caught up in deficit fever, too - a cyclical illness that occurs only when we ha

You really can't blame them for not listening. After all, the U.S. is caught up in deficit fever, too - a cyclical illness that occurs only when we have a Democratic president or Democratic control of the House. The only thing that worries the Villagers is when the government spends money on the people who gave it to them:

TORONTO -- President Obama warned Sunday that the world economic recovery remains "fragile" and urged continued spending to support growth, an expansionist call at the end of a summit marked by an agreement among developed nations to halve their annual deficits within three years.

The president's remarks tempered the Group of 20's headline achievement at the summit, a deficit-reduction target that had been pushed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the host of the meeting and a fiscal conservative. Although there is broad agreement that government debt in the developed world needs to be reduced, there is concern that cutting too fast and too deeply will slow growth and possibly spark a new recession.

In a news conference at the meeting's conclusion, Obama said that the world's largest economic powers had agreed on the need for "continued growth in the short term and fiscal sustainability in the medium term."

"A number of our European partners are making difficult decisions," Obama said. "But we must recognize that our fiscal health tomorrow will rest in no small measure on our ability to create jobs and growth today."

The group's closing statement included the specific deficit-reduction target, but it was couched in caveats -- that deficit reduction needed to be "calibrated" to avoid harming growth, paced differently in each country and paired with other reforms to strengthen the economy.

Obama and European leaders, in particular, came to the meeting with sharply different views of the strength of the global economic recovery, with the U.S. president more pessimistic. The declaration, in the works for weeks, gave each side what it wanted, although the specific deadlines went further than the Obama administration had preferred before the meeting.

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