Keep the reins loose

There's been plenty of debate at the Group of 20 economic summit in London this week over what world leaders should do to revive the world economy.

The best advice we can think of is, get out of the way!

The markets thrive in a climate of freedom. And the markets are showing signs of either bottoming out or rebounding.

Stocks had their best month in six years in March, while existing home sales were up in February.

The first quarter was a disaster, obviously, and rising unemployment numbers and other factors make you wonder if the bottom really has been hit.

But one thing is clear: Big government is more likely to hurt than to help.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner predicted the G20 summit would yield "the strongest consensus on coordinated global stimulus you've seen in generations -- a very powerful consensus on the kind of 21st century rules of the road for our financial systems."

Perhaps. And we hope it works. But we also hope it doesn't put ankle weights on the free market.

Geithner does suggest that growing trade will be key to a global recovery, and we agree. But the philosophies of the Obama administration -- and Geithner's ominous position that the government may force out other corporate leaders after essentially firing the CEO of GM -- give hesitation.

Stability and predictability in government policies will also help determine business' confidence in investing for the future, writes former Bill Clinton adviser Dick Morris. So far, he says, the Obama administration has only added to the instability.

"Each day's news brings another bold and far-reaching proposal to change the fundamentals of the U.S. economy," Morris writes in a column with Eileen McGann. "And each time he indulges his personal ideology with such a pronouncement, businesses all over the world cut back on their planned investment until the dust settles.

"Most incredible was the fact that he chose the middle of a deep recession to announce a major tax-code overhaul."

Some experts said last fall the best thing the government could do was nothing.

So far, the world has seen little evidence they were wrong.

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Sat, 01/21/2017 - 22:00

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