It’s Nice to Wine and Dine on the Taxpayer’s Dime …
There is only one good thing about G20 (and similar) meetings: almost nothing ever comes of them. That makes them intrinsically cheap, although the tax serfs of the host countries usually must expect that they will have to fork over 100ds of millions in expenses. The costs of providing security for the assembled bigwigs alone are absolutely staggering. Apparently these people are so well liked that they need to be defended against everything short of an asteroid strike regardless of where they show up.
Maybe they could all be pensioned off? Just an idea …
Photo credit: Umit Bektas / Reuters
Luckily the most recent G 20 meeting promises to be just as productive as the ones preceding it. To be fair, one statement was issued at its conclusion that we would support, namely a pledge not to engage in protectionism. One needs to keep in mind though that the current trade regime is a “managed” one, not a truly free one (free trade doesn’t require agreements the length of telephone directories – just rescind all tariffs and uphold the property rights of foreign investors and be done with it). Still, in this case we will take what we can get.
Good thing they never seem to get to the “action” part …
Cartoon by Alan Moir
Another Flood of Money to be Unleashed on Cronies
Unfortunately they still seem hell-bent on implementing state-directed “investment” – although they have apparently refrained this time from mentioning their ridiculous “800 plans” (previously 900). There also seems to be a deep-seated faith in the magical powers of central bank money printing, although is is no longer deemed to be “enough” on its own. That almost sounds like a threat unfortunately.
A few excerpts from a Reuters report on the meeting:
“World financial leaders agreed on Saturday that over reliance on cheap cash from loose central bank monetary policy will not lead to balanced economic growth and that as activity picks up, interest rates would have to rise. Instead, G20 governments agreed that they should focus more on what they themselves can do to boost growth, Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne told Reuters.
The G20 communique welcomed strengthening activity in some economies but said that growth fell short of expectations. “We have pledged to take decisive action to keep the economic recovery on track and we are confident the global economic recovery will gain speed,” the statement said.
To boost global growth over the next five years by a further 2 percent above what was already expected, G20 countries agreed last year in Brisbane that they would launch structural reforms and invest in a coordinated way. They were behind schedule, the communique said.
Boosting investment was key, the G20 financial leaders agreed. Governments will prepare their final investment strategies by November, when G20 leaders are to meet to discuss them in Antalya in Turkey.
Got that? Governments will “prepare their investment strategies”. The idea that governments can “create economic growth” by means of unleashing their bureaucracies with wads of freshly borrowed and/or printed money is so utterly absurd one almost doesn’t know what to say to it.
Economic calculation is an impossible task for bureaucrats, and it’s not as if this were not known. Moreover, they have no secret stashes of wealth and resources at their disposal – they first need to take them (forcibly) from those who actually produce wealth. Then they proceed to waste it; then they welcome the associated “activity” captured by aggregate statistics, even while real wealth generation is hampered and scarce capital is consumed.
There was also the ritual incantation in the closing statement regarding the need for “structural reforms” – but all over the world the mountain of red tape and regulations keeps growing year-in, year-out, with no end in sight. What “reforms” are the babbling about then? No-one really seems to know.
What is absolutely certain though is that the only true beneficiaries of any coming wave of “investments” will be assorted cronies. Get ready for various “green energy” boondoggles, bridges to nowhere, ghost airports, etc. etc.
One can only hope they will continue to remain “behind schedule”. Haven’t these hapless planners done enough damage yet?
Cartoon by Deligne