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Published: Wednesday, 5/23/2012


G-8 debate

Last weekend's Camp David summit of leaders of the top industrialized nations -- except China -- focused on the debate over economic growth versus austerity and its various expressions: debt, borrowing difficulty, high unemployment, and public discontent.

That debate is focused on Greece. Its economy is tiny, but its membership in the European Union and the euro zone puts it high on the summit agenda.

The rest of the G-8 leaders pressured German Chancellor Angela Merkel to commit her prosperous nation to an effort to keep Greece in the euro zone. A Greek departure might be followed by that of other shaky euro-zone countries. But Greece must understand that a runaway approach to its long-standing economic imprudence would carry prohibitive consequences.

Greece needs the EU and the euro zone much more than they need it, yet the G-8 leaders appeared to tiptoe around the austerity issue over the weekend. President Obama, the summit host, must have found the affair painful, since he is faced with a Republican threat of another domestic debt-limit squabble in an election year.

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