May 20, 2012
NYC Letter: G-8 Summit 2012
Day 1,212 of CHOPE
Special New Friends Summit Edition
"I'M WITH STUPID!"
(Left) François Hollande, President Of France
(Further Left) Barack Obama, President Of The United States
Friday and Saturday the United States hosted the 38th G-8 Summit, a meeting of the big world financial powers. The "eight" are the United States (member since 1975), United Kingdom (1975), Germany (1975), France (1975), Italy (1975), Japan (1975), Canada (1976), and Russia (1997). The President of the European Commission (1981) is also formally a member, but is not included for some reason in the "G" count. Only four of the G-8 are actually among the top eight world economies: (1) EU $15.39T; (2) USA $15.04T; (5) Japan $4.39T; (6) Germany $3.08T; (7) Russia $2.38T. If you throw out the EU, the UK is under the wire, (9) $2.25T.
It's hard to see what exactly's the organizing principle of today's G-8 or 9. Most of the members are Western-style democracies although the EU is a bureaucracy, not a democracy, and Russia is a democracy in name only. Many of the members have strong ties to the United States except Russia, who plays the dog in the manger. So it's not economic heft and it's not ideology. It's a diplomatic habit.
This year's summit was originally to be held in Chicago with a NATO/ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) summit kited on the next day. Mr. Obama switched the venue to the more bucolic Camp David in part to spare his guests the usual where's-my-better-world protests.
Newly elected (wink, wink) President Putin phoned in he was "too busy" to attend.
RUSSIANS PERPLEXED BY PUTIN'S SNUB OF G8.
IS IT BECAUSE OF PROTESTS? OBAMA?
President Vladimir Putin Said He Is 'Too Busy' To Attend The G8 Summit.
But Russians Say He's Either On Edge About Recent Protests
Or Intends To Throw A Wrench In The US-Russia 'Reset'.
May 14, 2012 (CSM)
When big important world leaders are huddled up, important stuff gets done, big important decisions are reached.
OBAMA, G-8: RECOVERY
TAKES BOTH GROWTH AND CUTTING
May 19, 2012 (CSM)
But more growth than cutting.
G8 LEADERS URGE EUROPE TO FOCUS ON GROWTH
RATHER THAN AUSTERITY AT G8 SUMMIT
CAMP DAVID, Maryland May 19, 2012 (Canadian Biz)
You know what, just forget the austerity.
OBAMA PRESSES AILING
EUROPE TO FOCUS ON GROWTH
U.S. President Sets Tone For Weekend G8 Summit
WASHINGTON May 18, 2012 (Reuters)
Growth, of course, means spending and austerity means not spending. Everyone seems to be agreed on the spending.
Of course an indispensable function of the G-8, aside from generating empty headlines, is for everybody to make some new best friends.
CAMP DAVID, Maryland May 18, 2012 (FNC) - Of the eight countries represented for the two-day talks, four have elected new leaders since the summit hosted by France last year.
France, Italy, Japan and Russia all have new presidents or prime ministers.
The new French president, Francois Hollande sworn into office last week, visited with Obama in Washington on Friday prior to the start of the summit.
[Picture source: ¡No Pasarán!]
PARIS January 26, 2012 (Guardian) - François Hollande, the leftwing frontrunner in the French presidential race, has vowed to make the rich pay the highest price to help drag France out of its economic crisis, while promising to pump more money into schools and state-assisted jobs.
The Socialist rural MP, who recently declared "my real adversary in this campaign is the world of finance", launched his manifesto on Thursday, a road map of how the left would deal with the financial crisis. Hollande said he would raise taxes for banks and big companies as well as France's richest people, and use the money to help wipe out the nation's crippling public deficit.
The French couldn't vote fast enough for that. [Faire une pause.] Except the high earners.
FRANCE ENTREPRENEURS FLEE
FROM HOLLANDE WEALTH REJECTION
May 10, 2012 (BW)
Fleeing The Wealth Tax
WEALTHY FRENCH TAKE
THEIR ASSETS TO LONDON
LONDON May 18, 2012 (Spiegel)
M. Hollande's biggest obstacle to "patriotically" taxing the rich French to extinction will be finding any rich French to tax.
* Ségolène Royal was M. Hollande's not-quite-for-life "life-partner" for over thirty years. Marriage was "too 'bourgeois", and to keep things free and breezy they also forwent a pacte civil de solidarité. They begat four bastards, who were vouchsafed only the parents' celebrity. The couple separated after Mlle. Royal made history as the first-woman-within-six-points-of-the-Élysée™. A condensed version of the bitter unraveling can be found here. Highlights here and here.