German official: Obama should get his own debt under control before handing out free advice

In a not-so-subtle rebuke of President Obama’s tendency to offer unsolicited recommendations on how Europeans should handle their debt crises on Sunday evening, Germany’s finance minister suggested that perhaps His Munificence should focus on his own problems before trying to fix everybody else’s.

Wolfgang Schaeuble told public broadcaster ZDF in an interview late Sunday that “people are always very quick at giving others advice.”

He says: “Mr. Obama should first of all take care of reducing the American deficit, which is higher than in the eurozone.”

An unfortunate and embarrassing truth — the EU’s debt-to-GDP ratio is well over eighty percent, but the United States’ ratio sits at above one hundred percent.  The difference is that more people still have more confidence in the United States’ financial future, and we have more time to sort things out, but how long can those advantages last before our unsustainable spending habits catch up with us?

With the eurozone crisis still dragging on with no end in sight, it’s taking a massive toll on the global economy — a situation that President Obama would desperately like to improve before November. A global economy that at least kinda’, sorta’ feels like it’s recovering would vastly bolster his chances for reelection, and Europe’s woes are the single greatest obstacle to that sentiment right now.

Although, for President Obama at least, there might be something good for his campaign coming out of the euro crisis. There are few things that cause as much economic angst as high gas prices, and it looks like Europe’s fiscal problems are helping to keep gas prices low, as futures traders are nervous that the debt crisis will curb worldwide demand for fuel.

“The outlook for oil remains negative while concerns remain about the economic outlook in Europe weigh on demand,” Michael Hewson, a London-based analyst at CMC Markets, which handles about $240 million a day in U.S. crude contracts, said today in an e-mail. “Investors remain skeptical that EU leaders will be able to agree on anything tangible to alleviate the current crisis.”

Oil for August delivery dropped as much as 97 cents to $78.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $78.92 at 12:53 p.m. London time. Prices have fallen 23 percent this quarter, the biggest decline since the final three months of 2008.

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David Strom 3:31 PM on November 30, 2022