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OECD chief: America ‘was a good place…and then this happens’

October 16th, 2013
09:51 AM ET

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.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Economy • Latest Episode • U.S. Politics
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. H.B.

    The destructive tendencies of the right-wing DOES know what they're doing. The devastating effects Mr. Gurria mentioned are what those people WANT. Their real goal is to erode the U.S. to a point where its middle class is finished, the economy is totally tanked, and the country is in a state of collapse.

    The same kind of mindset was ruling America during the 8 Bush years, working very hard to deplete the country's finances and destroy the middle class utterly. They came SO close to it – and if you'd care to remember those dark days, you'll also remember that it was so.

    With Obama, improvements came rapidly. But we were already so far DOWN, that it would clearly take YEARS to recover fully. During these years, it has been an uphill swim against whitewater rapids to get anything done at ALL. And meanwhile, the right wingers were infuriated at how all their "good work" was being so well undone.

    But even now, as a minority in government, they can still get enough right-wingers elected to throw monkey wrenches into every single effort being made to undo the harm. They get elected – and re-elected – by their "base," whose motives are often very limited, but fiercely held. Motives like wanting to destroy America and rebuild it as a religious state. Motives like wanting to destroy America to rebuild it with a ruling elite of neocons. Both groups would be unspeakably oppressive. And BOTH groups are dripping with America's haters.

    It is imperative that "we the people" begin to see what these groups are REALLY after. They threaten everything about America as we know it. What they'd replace it with is NOT democracy. They all lean heavily on words like "patriotism" and "freedom" or "liberty." Yet their own bottom line is utterly opposed to all of those things. They use the words to impress the ignorant, to gain their votes.

    And we seem to have an alarming number of ignorant people these days. Not just ignorant, but ignorant-and-proud.

    We're in big trouble, and it's not likely to go away, either.

    We've found ourselves dependent on the lowest common denominator: our ignorant, bigoted and absolutist populations.

    And that's BAD.

    October 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm | Reply
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