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G-20: I See England, I See France...

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[Joint Communiqué -- an early draft...]

We the undersigned signatory nations, having convened here in London as the "Group of 20" for the purpose of discussing the current state of the world economic system, and for the further purpose of considering certain adjustments to that system, which we acknowledge is in crisis, with serious implications for the nations represented here and for the rest of the world as well, do hereby issue this Joint Communiqué to summarize the various conclusions and recommendations arrived at after frank and cordial discussions among all participants.

Conclusions and Recommendations

* This mess is not our fault.

* Not naming names or anything, but there's a certain country whose high-flying, debt-ridden ways have really made a hash of things, and now that their economy has gone off a cliff, they come here expecting the rest of us to pull them out of it. Good luck with that!

* Rescuing the world economy will require, as a first priority, a new regime of far stricter regulation of financial institutions, including hedge funds, off-shore tax havens, and the so-called "shadow" banking system.

* Rescuing the world economy will require, as a first priority, a major stimulus effort by all national governments to restore vitality and liquidity to markets, and to "jump-start" sluggish manufacturing sectors in the absence of effective movement from the private sector.

* Tried reconciling those last two sentences? Don't bother.

(* Hint: It's south of Canada, north of Mexico.)

* In a global economy, the problems of one nation can no longer be confined to that nation, but demand the attention of all.

* In a 21st-century economy, technology can be friend or foe.

* [We need another economy cliché here.]

* Did you notice how the Chinese delegation kept smiling even when everybody else was looking forlorn? Is it really just a matter of time before they control everything?

* First the skinny guy shakes everybody's hand -- then he tells us he's got a cold!

* Protectionism, while politically appealing in the short term, risks doing great damage in the long term, both to the country adopting such measures and to other countries forced to contend with them.

* What you do is "protectionism." What we do is "vital support of local industries and workers."

* He gave the Queen an iPod?!

* Sure, if two of you have a few minutes free and want to negotiate nuclear-weapons reductions while the rest of us are knocking ourselves out over the global economic meltdown, go right ahead.

* Enough about Michelle already! You think he's the only one with a good-looking wife?

* The Japanese aren't so cocky now, are they?

* Anybody here remember when "transparency" meant something totally different?

* Germany and France against the United States and Great Britain -- pretty ironic, huh?

* "India." (We told you we'd get you in there somewhere. Now back off!)

* OK, so she has great arms.

* How come he didn't give us an iPod?

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Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at