Old, vague or unlikely to go though: A critique of the G20 plans to boost global growth

Leaders of the world's 20 most powerful nations who gathered together last weekend have congratulated themselves on new plans they say will add US$2 trillion to the world economy and create millions of new jobs.

Not everyone shared that prognosis. "Basically it appears to be a collection of wish lists presented from each country," said Sakong Il, who chaired a presidential committee to prepare for the Seoul G20 summit meeting in 2010.

Without rigorous guidelines for implementation, it becomes "another talk shop, another photo session", said Sakong, who now runs an independent research institute.

Reuters says taking a closer look the G20's 800-plus policy proposals reveals a catalogue of measures that are either old, vague or unlikely to be implemented:

Australia: Put forward many measures first touted in a general election over a year ago, some of which are stuck in parliament and highly unlikely to survive in their current form.

The United States: The second shortest at just 15 pages, its package began with an increase in the government's spending ceiling, a measure passed as long ago as December last year. Most of the remaining proposals need approval from Congress, an optimistic assumption now that both houses are controlled by President Barack Obama's Republican opponents. One measure, comprehensive immigration reform, is so anathema to Republicans that Obama may have to use executive action to force through even a limited package.

European Union: No sign of extra spending. Germany's investment plan next year amounts to 0.1 per cent of GDP, and it will balance the budget for the first time since 1969, tightening fiscal policy rather than loosening it to spur growth.

China: The thrust of Beijing's commitments were a repeat of its own 3rd plenum reform plans.

South Korea: Stretched to 114 policy measures under 33 categories over 30 pages. All were a repeat of what the government has announced since the current finance minister took office in July.

Indonesia: Key proposals on funding for infrastructure date back to late last year.

Japan: Pledges were almost immediately undermined when data showed the country had lapsed back into recession, which is expected to prompt Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to postpone a controversial hike in sales taxes and call an early election.

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