View From Lodi, CA Pittsburgh, PA: G-20 Summit: A Waste Of Our Money And Their Time
September 25, 2009, 05:00 AM
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In all probability my Lodi friends aren't reading much about the G-20 Summit that concluded Friday in Pittsburgh.

I'm pretty certain of that since not even my Pittsburgh neighbors care anything about the G-20 either despite it dominating the local news.

To find out exactly how little interest exists, I conducted a totally random, informal survey. Only a handful knew that "G" stands for "Group" and not the most popular answer, "Global"

And no one among the few who could identify what the G-20 is all about could within a reasonably short time period name more than seven of the 20 countries who make up the summit.

Most correctly guessed China. But who's the president of the world's most populous country? My question got blank stares. And I must confess that I had to check the Internet myself before I could answer Hu Jintao

Why should anyone, anywhere have the least curiosity in what goes on during the G-20? None of the high and mighty care one fig about us.

Truth be told, the G-20 is such a staggering waste of their time and our money that the shameless participants should be banned from organizing another summit.

Just look at the last G-20 in London six months ago which cost £80 million, four times the estimated cost, with most of it spent for overtime, food, wine, hotel rooms, goodie bags and police protection.  The G-20 produced nothing.

Nothing that is except to agree to pump astronomical amounts of public money to bail out the banks that created the current world economic in the first place.

There was also the G-20's decision to direct $750 billion to the useless International Monetary Fund to help struggling and developing countries to withstand the impact of the current recession. Six months later, the money has yet to reach any of the emerging nations.

By the way, I can remember in the seventh grade my geography teacher pointing out the location of the "emerging nations" to my bored classmates and me. If they haven't emerged in five decades, maybe they never will.

This year's G-20 agenda so pompously touted by President Barack Obama that promises to focus on financial market reform sounds great but is just so much rubbish. Imagine the audacity of Obama promising to, in his words "rebalance the global economy" during the 24 hours when the leaders actually sit down to talk.

As for introducing stricter regulations for the money managers, it's a bad joke in view of the financiers' long standing refusal to act responsibly.

For years, the money men have knowingly closed their eyes to abuses of all types including bending every rule in the book to rip off their trusting customers. Worse, banking watchdogs like Standard and Poor's acted as enablers—the fox guarding the henhouse if you will.

China's Jintao's statements are more breathtaking in their effrontery than Obama's. 

On the major G-20 topic of green house gases, Jintao promised Obama that China would cut carbon dioxide emissions. That's a tall order since China, the world's manufacturing center, is the most polluted country on the globe. 

According to a recent World Bank report, pollution in China kills about 750,000 prematurely each year and 16 of the world's most polluted cities are in China.

But China's coal fired plants are the source of 60 percent of the country's energy, the mainstay of its industries.

Even in the unlikely event that Jintao keeps his pledge to reduce emissions, China would have to cut them by half to make a difference.

But since the only thing China has done lately is snub its nose at the U.S., don't expect it to make good on its promises

Pittsburgh is dwelling on the good news. For those who work downtown, some had a paid week off. And even those who in the outskirts, with a little creativity they have been off the hook work-wise, too.

As for the dignitaries, including their wives who naturally rode along for the shopping, the G-20 was—as it always is—a great photo op.

Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.