Brief of the Week October 6

PUTIN, SARKO, IMF BOSS ON U.S. BAILOUT:  As Congress prepared to vote on the $700 billion bailout package last week, foreign leaders were getting into the act. Two days after the House rejected the package, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that it was “really sad” and irresponsible that the U.S. had not acted more forcefully in dealing with the global financial crisis. On the eve of the annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington, D.C., IMF Managing Director Dominic Strauss-Kahn made a startling call for his organization to become an international regulatory agency to set global standards and has support from China, Brazil, and several European countries for the IMF’s regulating the world financial market. Although Strauss-Kahn is a Socialist and his stance was not a major surprise, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, admired by many American conservatives, has also begun pushing for global regulation of the market. Another friend of the U.S., Columbian President Alvaro Uribe has also weighed in with criticism of U.S. financial policies in the international market. Asked about these criticisms by world leaders, Deputy White House Press Secretary Tony Fratto said, “They have their views. But there is no question at all that the U.S. — the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial markets — have contributed greatly not just to American growth, but to global growth over the past 15 years, and a lot of very important innovations. And to stand here and just dump on what that industry has done because of this crisis is I think a bit unfair.” Fratto went on to say that “Any investor in the world who buys securities, or makes foreign direct investment, or any kind of portfolio investment, does it based on their own judgment. Our investors do it when they invest in other countries, and foreign investors do it when they invest in the United States. And we’re going to trust their judgment.”