The G-20 Fiasco
July 3, 2010

Maria Tomchick

The Canadian government spent $1 billion on security for the G-20 summit in Toronto, but still wasn’t able to keep a few black-bloc protestors from smashing store windows and burning two police cars. Or perhaps I should say “and” instead of “but,” because it was clear that the police were not concerned about property damage. If anything, the sacrifice of two police cars was a small price to pay in order to justify the hundreds of millions spent on new equipment and overtime for 20,000 police, soldiers, and intelligence officers.

Wait a minute—what do they mean by “intelligence officers”? Go to YouTube and search for “g-20 protests” and you’ll find a video of plainclothes police that shows exactly where Canadian tax dollars went: to pay dozens of cops in t-shirts and jeans wielding sticks and beating protestors. One was even dressed as a black-bloc protestor, leading to the question: did the police infiltrate protest groups in order to cause violence and justify the crackdown on peaceful protestors? The answer appears to be “yes.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the barriers, the heads of state for the 20 most developed nations were fussing about what to do to appease their restive populations and save the global economy. Their economists cast the problem as a simple either/or choice: either governments continue to go deeper into debt by spending money on economic stimulus plans to save the global economy, or governments can cut spending on social programs to pay down their debts and avoid bankruptcy (but this might further hurt the economy). The Obama administration’s official policy is that the US government can do both at the same time, without giving any convincing details about how they will accomplish this impossible feat.

No one mentions the third way—the only sane option in the face of the worst economic downtown since the 1930’s—that governments do what nearly every household in the world has been forced to do over the last two years: cut spending on nonessential items and use the savings to pay down debts and buy necessities.

In other words, to save the global economy and government balance sheets, governments must do the following: stop financing wars and military appropriations and do away with corporate give-aways. In the case of the US government, which finances both sides of the war in Afghanistan, ending two wars in the Middle East would save enormous amounts of money. Ending the inefficient and ineffective efforts to prop up the housing market (hundreds of millions of dollars poured into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus billions of dollars in no-interest loans to big banks, plus tax credits for homebuyers and mortgage holders) would free up plenty of money to pay down the deficit.

And there would be lots of money left over to finance necessities that create jobs in the US economy: healthcare, education, infrastructure (telecom systems, transit systems, water and sewer systems, etc.) and social services.

History shows that this third way is the only one that works; it’s what saved us in the 1930’s and 1940’s. But it’s “politically impossible” to discuss, much less implement, because it is, in fact, Socialism.

And we need to try it again.