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G-20 Summit Offers $1 Trillion In Economic Help


This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.


For at least the third time in recent weeks the stewards of our economy have found a way to say they're throwing another trillion dollars into the fight. The latest trillion was pledged in London where leaders of the world's biggest economies met. And as NPR's John Ydstie reports the pledge is about a trillion dollars more than some might have feared.


In the days just prior to the G-20 meeting high expectations alternated with fears of a walkout by some leaders that could lead to collapse. But when the summit host, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, reported the result of the meeting yesterday, he said the world had come together to fight back against the global recession.

GORDON BROWN: These are not just a single collection of actions; this is collective action, people working together at their best. I think the new world order is emerging and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international co-operation.

YDSTIE: Brown said The IMF and a body called the Financial Stability Board would also get new responsibilities.

BROWN: Alongside these extra resources, we will ask the international institutions to strengthen their independent surveillance of the world economy and to promote growth and the reduction of poverty.

YDSTIE: Among the duties keeping tabs on huge firms that might pose a risk to the global economy. The IMF will also assess whether additional fiscal stimulus is needed around the globe. Coming into the summit President Obama pushed for even greater stimulus spending by the G-20 economies, but European leaders, including French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel, opposed that arguing that the summit should focus on curbing the excesses of global capitalism. In the days before the summit, it was feared those differences might be fatal. But after the meeting yesterday President Obama said the fears were overblown.

BARACK OBAMA: Some commentators confused honest and open debate with irreconcilable differences.

YDSTIE: In fact it turns out President Obama played a role in bridging the differences between France and China over the regulation of tax havens, but the president failed in his effort to get more stimulus spending. During his news conference, he was asked to assess his performance.

OBAMA: Overall, I'm pleased with the product and I leave it to others to determine whether me and my team had anything to do with that.

YDSTIE: Mr. Obama remarked that there had been comparisons made between this summit and the last overhaul of international economic architecture at Bretton Woods in 1944. He suggested that getting agreement among the 20 leaders in London might have been more challenging.

OBAMA: Well, if it's just Roosevelt and Churchill sitting in a room with a brandy, yeah, that's a easier negotiation.


OBAMA: But that's not the world we live in, and it shouldn't be the world that we live in.

YDSTIE: John Ydstie, NPR News, London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

John Ydstie
John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.