Rewriting the Camp David Declaration
– or what they couldn’t say and why they said what they did
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Eight, met at Camp David on May 18 and 19, 2012 to address major global economic and political challenges (and to get out of our countries for a few days where things are getting downright oppressive).
The Global Economy
2. Our imperative is to promote growth and jobs, but we are failing miserably and do not have a clue what to do…
3. The global economic recovery shows few signs of promise, significant headwinds persist and we have not agreements on key areas of need. Each day the ECB gets more overextended and is without a plan. Below we offer up some nice sounding verbiage that won’t do a thing…
4. Against this background, we commit to take all necessary steps to strengthen and reinvigorate our economies and combat financial stresses, recognizing that the right measures are not the same for each of us and that each of us is likely to fail do exactly what is needed. Germany is more likely to be too austere; Greece is more likely to be too slow to implement any meaningful reforms. Political impasse in Greece continues to point a loaded gun at the head of the euro-or would do so if the euro had a head. Instead the gun is pointed at its financial groin.
5. We welcome the ongoing discussion in Europe on how to generate growth, while maintaining a firm commitment to implement fiscal consolidation to be assessed on a structural basis. This phrasing means nothing to everybody in Europe (or something different to everyone)! We agree on the importance of a strong and cohesive Eurozone for global stability and recovery, and we affirm our interest in Greece remaining in the Eurozone while respecting its commitments. This statement is 180 degrees at odds with where Greece seems to be politically at the moment, but the G-8 can agree on it and it sounds good. It does not reflect any new or existing consensus in Greece, unfortunately. We all have an interest in the success of specific measures to strengthen the resilience of the Eurozone and growth in Europe. But, again, we haven’t the foggiest idea how to do get it. We support Euro Area Leaders’ resolve to address the strains in the Eurozone in a credible and timely manner and in a manner that fosters confidence, stability and growth, but we cannot agree on what these things are, so don’t hold your breath waiting for results.
6. We agree that all of our governments need to take actions to boost confidence and nurture recovery including reforms to raise productivity, growth (this is the German part of the statement) and demand (this is the Greek and French and Italian/Spanish/Portuguese part of the statement) within a sustainable, credible and non-inflationary macroeconomic framework (this is the fanciful part of the statement). We commit to fiscal responsibility and, in this context, we support sound and sustainable fiscal consolidation policies that take into account countries’ evolving economic conditions and underpin confidence and economic recovery (This is the totally oxymoron part of the statement; a bit like the line in the old Blood Sweat and Tears song...’you can help yourself but don’t take too much’).
7. To raise productivity and growth potential in our economies, we support structural reforms, and investments in education and in modern infrastructure, as appropriate (note, not as inappropriate…). Investment initiatives can be financed using a range of mechanisms, including leveraging the private sector (where it is not already dead or too busy avoiding paying taxes). Sound financial measures, to which we are committed, should build stronger systems over time while not choking off near-term credit growth. (…unless, of course, we actually implement them in which case growth of all sorts is likely to be choked off even more. But for now we can stand agreeing that we are ‘committed to them’ as long as we do not have to DO anything). We commit to promote investment to underpin demand, including support for small businesses and public-private partnerships. (?? Is this US language with a commitment to help small business? What the heck is this??)
8. Robust international trade, investment and market integration are key drivers of strong sustainable and balanced growth (This is a sop to traditional neoclassical economics). We underscore the importance of open markets and a fair, strong, rules-based trading system- even though we do not have one and have not had one for 20- to 30-years. We will honor our commitment to refrain from protectionist measures, protect investments and pursue bilateral, plurilateral, and multilateral efforts, consistent with and supportive of the WTO framework, to reduce barriers to trade and investment and maintain open markets. We do this even though WTO does not work and even though the WTO has major hole in its structure by having no clause insisting that currencies trade freely and coalesce around true equilibrium values. We call on the broader international community to do likewise- even though it makes no sense. Recognizing that unnecessary differences and overly burdensome regulatory standards serve as significant barriers to trade, we support efforts towards regulatory coherence and better alignment of standards to further promote trade and growth (perhaps some statement about abolishing graft and bribery especially though the public sector would be helpful here too? Or was that too controversial? Does this mean that the regulatory encroachment is the US in going into reverse? Uh, oh, never mind…).
9. Given the importance of intellectual property rights (IPR) to stimulating job and economic growth, we affirm the significance of high standards for IPR protection and enforcement, including through international legal instruments and mutual assistance agreements, as well as through government procurement processes, private-sector voluntary codes of best practices, and enhanced customs cooperation, while promoting the free flow of information. (This is basically the G-8’s anti-China statement) To protect public health and consumer safety, we also commit to exchange information on rogue internet pharmacy sites in accordance with national law and share best practices on combating counterfeit medical products. (This clause is to make America safe for Viagra use since it’s about the only recreational activity many Americans can afford these days)
Link to actual: There are 40 paragraphs