May 31, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Aspen Times "Charlie Leonard: Show Germany the way, Obama"

Charlie Leonard:
"On Tuesday, it was reported that the Obama administration sent one of its top Treasury officials to Europe to tell government officials there that they need to take decisive actions now to solve their fiscal problems or risk causing another global economic crisis.

In a statement announcing the trip, the Treasury Department said the U.S. official “will meet with senior government officials in each country to discuss their plans for achieving economic stability and growth in Europe.” No additional details were provided.

Can you imagine how those talks are going?

“President Obama asked me to tell you that he really thinks the time has come for several of your countries to get control of your fiscal situation and to adopt policies that can help get your economies growing again.”

After seeing the constant threat of government defaults in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy, one can only imagine what a welcome relief Obama's advice to European officials must be this week.

Can't you just picture a profoundly grateful Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, saying to herself: “Fiscal stability and pro-growth policies — now why couldn't I have thought of that?”

Imagine, also, how profoundly embarrassed Germany must now be at having gone through a decade of painful reforms, including raising its retirement age, reducing unemployment benefits, lowering its deficits and easing hiring and wage restrictions in order to achieve its current prosperity. It seems all of that could have been avoided if Germany had just followed Obama's advice to pursue “growth and economic stability.”

This kind of extraordinary insight — from such a unique individual as Barack Obama — seems like the kind of advice from which others could benefit as well.

For instance, the president might consider sending one of his emissaries to the New York Yankees to advise the bullpen to improve their pitching if they want to have a chance at the playoffs. Or he could counsel the management of Kodak to adapt its products and services better to the digital age in order to escape bankruptcy. He could even urge contestants on “Survivor” and “Dancing With the Stars” to avoid being voted off their shows if they want to win their respective competitions....."
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