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The G-20 summit is over, and the big news is that "fiscal austerity" is the new global watchword: the official summit declaration announces that "advanced economies have committed to fiscal plans that will at least halve deficits by 2013."
And everyone gets a new pony, too. The leaders of the United Kingdom and Germany believe that the new austerity drive will somehow result in renewed economic growth. Students of history, mindful of the lessons of the 1930s, worry that a "Third Depression" is in the offing. But all the pundits seem to agree on one thing: The G-20's declaration represents a failure for President Obama, whose warning that what the world needs now is more government-stimulated demand, rather than fiscal retrenchment in the face of a very shaky global economy, was rudely ignored.