At G20, Obama’s Economic Ambitions Don’t Go Over Too Well With Debt-Laden Leaders

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Photo: Getty Images

President Obama has been at the G20 Summit in Toronto, pitching developed nations to continue stimulus spending, but the other leaders there are more concerned with their rising debts, and they've all agreed to cut their government's deficits in half by 2013, a goal that the U.S. agreed to, also. The deficit-defeating plan was proposed by Stephen Harper, prime minister of Canada and host of the twenty nations gathered for the summit, with the support of British prime minister David Cameron, who proposed "the most ambitious austerity plan of spending cuts and tax increases in his country in a half-century," according to the Times. Cameron, whose county's debt is heavier than the U.S.'s, joked that he couldn't afford the helicopter ride that Obama gave him on Saturday from the isolated site of the G8 talks to the G20 session in Toronto.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, meanwhile, also insisted that other countries continue stimulus spending in order to avoid a "double dip" recession, even though, last week, Senate Republicans in the U.S. shot down an economic-stimulus package of aid for the long-term unemployed. In Toronto, Geithner said that, during the Great Depression, countries pulled back recovery efforts too quickly, prolonging the financial slump. "What we want to do is continue to emphasize that we are going to avoid that mistake," he said. "It's only been a year since the world economy stopped collapsing ... it will take some time to heal."

'U.S. G20 Message: Stimulus Money Is Vital to Economic Recovery, Don't Pull Back Yet' [HuffPo]
'Leaders at Summit Talks Turn Attention to Deficit Cuts' [NYT]