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Gabor Steingart: "Obama Missed The Point"

Handelsblatt Editor-in-Chief Gabor Steingart responds to President Obama's criticism of a Glenn Hubbard op-ed that appeared in the paper.

"Hello everybody. My name is Gabor Steingart, and I am the editor in chief of the Handelsblatt, Germany's leading business daily. During a news conference at the G-20 summit, the American president, Barack Obama, beat up one of our op-ed writers. Obama blasted Glenn Hubbard, a distinguished professor of Columbia Business School in New York, who also happens to be the chief economic adviser of Mitt Romney. 'Don't Follow the Americans' was the title of Hubbard's piece in our newspaper's recent weekend edition, where Mr. Hubbard made his case against excessive debt creation. Obama's aggressive response: 'We have one president at a time.' He accused our op-ed writer of breaking a rule. 'Criticism has to stop at the water's edge,' so the president said.

"I say the American president missed the point. Debt creation is not an American issue alone, and debt addiction is an illness which has affected all of our societies. Our ability to create growth and to promote new and better jobs is shrinking. Today, America has pushed the debt ceiling 81 times. And the debt/GDP ratio far exceeds the European level. The U.S. deficit is growing by about $3.5 billion every single day. Imagine the federal budget would be a Cadillac, and now imagine how debt/GDP ratio of 50 percent would translate into a speed of 70 miles per hour. Under President Nixon, the Cadillac would have driven smoothly at around 50 miles per hour. Under President Reagan, the Cadillac would have increased speed to about 75 miles per hour. Under President Bush Jr., 100 miles per hour. But Obama would appear to have been the worst driver of them all. 145 miles per hour, and he is speeding up. That's not cool, that's dangerous.

"To force Europeans into the same car seems irresponsible to me. This journey will end as a nightmare. After two hyperinflations in Germany's history, where people have lost nearly everything they had, we have learned our lesson. I only wish our American friends could realize it's time for real change.

"Obama has it right. There can only be one president at a time, but maybe he's the wrong guy in the driver's seat. Thank you for listening."

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