By Mick Krever, CNN
Get your act together, America. That is the message Angel Gurria, who represents the 34 wealthiest countries of the world, had for U.S. lawmakers in an interview Tuesday with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Gurria is secretary general of the OECD, or Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“We’re getting a little purple here, because we thought we would have more breathing a lot sooner,” he told Amanpour. “It’s very difficult to understand why the U.S. are doing this to themselves.”
Gurria met with the 34 OECD member states on Tuesday, and said that the U.S. crisis was “practically the only thing we were discussing.”
Like a policeman pleading with someone not to jump off a bridge, Gurria begged with the U.S. to recognize how good it had things.
“They were the only bright spot so far,” he said. “It was a good place; things were happening. Jobs were being put back and growth was happening in the United States. And then this happens.”
“And of course,” he added, “the rest of the world is suffering the consequences and it will suffer further the consequences.”
The biggest problem, he opined, is not even the short-term solution to the debt ceiling and government shutdown that has thus far been out of reach – it is the inability to develop a long-term plan to tackle debt, growth, jobs, and deficits.
“If it's only going to be kicking the can a few weeks from now” – as seems likely in any patchwork deal – “clearly the problem doesn't go away.”
China, which holds enormous reserves of American Dollars, is one of the many countries aghast at the inability of lawmakers to solve the problem.
“It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world,” said an editorial appearing in China's state-run Xinhua news agency.
“The U.S. will continue to be the largest economy, and of course the U.S. will continue to be the place where the vibrancy of the initiatives, where the question of open trade regimes and open investment regimes is going to continue to happen,” Gurria said. “But that is precisely why we need so badly - we, the whole of the world – need the U.S. to get their act together and to lead.”