Is the G20 Just a Discussion Group? Here's Hoping

Includes: IYR, KBE
by: Bob McTeer

I try to keep up, but occasionally it dawns on me that I’ve been missing something. The latest example is the importance being placed on G-20 meetings. I wake up to find that there is to be a debate in Pittsburg on such matters as how much the respective governments should restrict banker pay packages. Apparently, we plan to crack down, but not as much as most others. There will be a debate.

What’s going on here? It’s not just that the debate will be over different degrees of government intervention into areas of business not normally under government jurisdiction. More scary is the idea that we might be morally bound, or even influenced, in such matters by the other 19. I didn’t get to vote for those guys. How did they get a vote on my banker’s pay?

I was already thinking along these lines, but I wasn’t exorcised enough to blog about it until yesterday, when I heard Daniel Hannan speak at an NCPA event in Dallas. Mr. Hannan is a member of the British Conservative Party and an elected delegate to the European Parliament, an institution he highly disapproves of.

Mr. Hannan recently became a You-Tube sensation by verbally cutting his Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, off at the knees during the latter’s appearance at the EU Parliament. A more eloquent spokesman for individual liberty and democracy than Mr. Hannan is not likely found today.

I can’t recall all that he said well enough to report it here, but I will quote one startling statistic that he gave. He quoted a credible source as estimating that up to 84 percent of the legislation enacted by member EU governments in recent years was passed to implement decisions first taken by the European Parliament. Increasingly, Europe is governed by international civil servants they had no opportunity to vote for.

I hope the G-20 enjoy their visit to Pittsburg. Let them discuss the issues and go home feeling good about themselves. Let us not, however, put any weight whatsoever on the result of those discussions. We can make our own mistakes, thank you very much.