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Mar 30, 2009

European powers rebuff US, British proposals for economic stimulus

By Patrick Martin, WSWS. Extract: "...Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf noted the historical parallel to the crisis of the 1930s in a column last month, in which he warned of the danger of a repetition of the summit held in the same city in 1933, in the depths of the Great Depression. US President Franklin Roosevelt did not even bother to attend the meeting, which broke up in failure over proposals to revive the gold standard.

Wolf wrote: "The London summit of 1933 marked the moment at which cooperative efforts to manage the Great Depression collapsed. The summit of the Group of 20 countries, in the same city, on April 2, must turn out quite differently. That may seem a simple task. It is not. The usual platitudinous communiqué would be a catastrophe."

All indications are that precisely such a result is now to be expected. The divisions between the rival capitalist nation-states, each seeking to safeguard the profits and privileges of its own ruling class, are an insuperable obstacle to the formulation of a coherent policy for dealing with the deepening global depression." Read all here

Economic Meltdown: The "Dollar Glut" is What Finances America's Global Military Build-up

Must read of today by Michael Hudson on Global Research. Extract:

"I am traveling in Europe for three weeks to discuss the global financial crisis with government officials, politicians and labor leaders. What is most remarkable is how differently the financial problem is perceived over here. It's like being in another economic universe, not just another continent.

The U.S. media are silent about the most important topic policy makers are discussing here (and I suspect in Asia too): how to protect their countries from three inter-related dynamics: (1) the surplus dollars pouring into the rest of the world for yet further financial speculation and corporate takeovers; (2) the fact that central banks are obliged to recycle these dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bonds to finance the federal U.S. budget deficit; and most important (but most suppressed in the U.S. media, (3) the military character of the U.S. payments deficit and the domestic federal budget deficit.

Strange as it may seem ­ and irrational as it would be in a more logical system of world diplomacy ­ the "dollar glut" is what finances America's global military build-up. It forces foreign central banks to bear the costs of America's expanding military empire ­ effective "taxation without representation." Keeping international reserves in "dollars" means recycling their dollar inflows to buy U.S. Treasury bills ­ U.S. government debt issued largely to finance the military..." Read all here

Obama holds "very pleasant" meeting with top US bankers

By Joe Kishore 28 Mar 2009 WSWS - US President Barack Obama met behind closed doors for more than an hour and a half with the chief executives of the largest American banks on Friday, reassuring the titans of finance that his administration has their best interests at heart... Every aspect of the administration's economic policy caters to the interests of the financial elite, of which the president is merely a mouthpiece. The private meeting at the White House had the air of a conspiracy against the public, a gathering to discuss carving up state resources in order to hand them over to the banks and major investors. Read here