Obama hails G-20 as economic 'turning point'

April 2, 2009 7:16:13 PM PDT
President Obama has concluded his first international summit. He's calling it a turning point in efforts to get the world economy moving in the right direction.SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you

The president went to London hoping to convince European leaders to do more to stimulate their own economies. He did not get as much as he wanted but he says it's a start.

The 20 wealthiest nations agreed to a list of goals without a lot of specifics. That includes tighter regulation of hedge funds, tax havens and credit rating agencies -- and a $1 trillion to restore credit growth and jobs in the world economy.

"Earlier today we finished a very productive summit that will, I believe, be a turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery," said President Obama.

To illustrate the importance of the global economy, the president pointed to Caterpillar, headquartered in his home state of Illinois.

"Up until last year was doing extraordinarily well in fact export growth is what had sustained it even after the recession had begun," said President Obama.

But when those overseas sales tanked, Caterpillar was forced to lay off 20,000 workers.

"So if we want to get caterpillar back on its feet, if we want to get all those export companies back on their feet, so that they're hiring putting people back to work putting money in people's pockets. We've got to make sure the global economy as a whole is successful," said President Obama.

Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area's largest business group, is encouraged by that statement.

"I think the president clearly recognizes that we have to have open markets and we need to get through this and it's a global issue and we need to get through it together," said Wunderman.

But ABC7'S Political Analyst Bruce Cain says today's G-20 agreement means little to most Americans.

"The bottom line is Joe consumer can't figure out which of these strategies work partly because not even the economic community knows what works," said Prof. Cain.

Professor Cain says the president will be judged on whether the economy improves, which the president acknowledged at the close of the summit.

"We won't know how effective we are until we look back a year from now or two years from now or three years from now and see if it worked," said President Obama.

But they won't be waiting one two or three years. The next G-20 summit is scheduled for this fall in New York.

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