"Cranks and crazies" taken over Republicans: Australian treasurer

CANBERRA Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:15pm EDT

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan speaks during the RMB Cross- border Trade and Investment Forum at Hong Kong government headquarters July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan speaks during the RMB Cross- border Trade and Investment Forum at Hong Kong government headquarters July 11, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan, in an unusually blunt criticism of U.S. politics weeks before the presidential election, said "cranks and crazies" had taken over the Republicans and posed the biggest threat to the world's largest economy.

Swan, one of few world leaders able to boast his country had avoided recession during the global financial crisis, also labelled the Tea Party wing of the Republicans as "extreme".

"Let's be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world's biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over the Republican Party," Swan said in a speech to a conference in Sydney.

The Republican Party's position on the U.S. budget had led a year ago to the deadlock in negotiations, Swan said, to prevent the looming "fiscal cliff" -- nearly $600 billion in planned spending cuts and tax hikes that will bite early next year.

The U.S. Congress had been debating whether to increase the U.S. borrowing ceiling but the Republicans would not budge.

"Despite President Obama's goodwill and strong efforts, the national interest was held hostage by the rise of the extreme Tea Party wing of the Republican Party," he said.

Australian politicians rarely launch such blunt criticism of their counterparts in the United States, Australia's most important strategic ally.

Swan, named by banking magazine Euromoney as its finance minister of the year in 2011 and treasurer of a center-left government, also called on the U.S. Congress to resolve an agreement on the budget to support growth in the short term.

With the U.S. presidential campaign entering its final weeks, the spending cuts and tax hikes will kick in unless Obama and Congress reach a deficit-reduction deal.

Democrats want to make up the shortfall by increasing taxes on wealthy Americans, while Republicans favor spending cuts.

(Reporting by Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by Paul Tait)

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Comments (3)
Raelyn wrote:
This how the Tea Party, etc. must look to the rest of the world. Their block headed attitude is hurting the country, and the way the world sees us. And the sad thing is, they seem to be getting worse.

Sep 20, 2012 9:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
fmark wrote:
For the record, this article contains a pretty fundamental misquotation. Wanyne Swan actually said: “Let’s be blunt and acknowledge that the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over a part of the Republican Party.”

Not the entire Republican Party, but just a part. Fairly basic error here Reuters.

Sep 21, 2012 5:20am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Rex_001 wrote:
I wouldn’t be seriously taking anything Wayne Swan says with a grain of salt. This bloke came into government with a surplus and has so far racked up 270 billion worth of debt and wants to increase it. His arrogance has no limits. The Labor party in Australia are in denial about how big a flogging they will get next year at the election. Personally, myself and 18 million Australians, can’t wait to throw this mob out. They lie, they treat the electorate with contempt and even go so low as calling anyone who disagrees with them as extremists and rednecks. BTW – Wayne Swan has NEVER held a real job in his life, it’s all been about university and unions, same with his master Juliar Dullard, she’s been a failed union lawyer who was asked to resign and a socialist hack for the far left of the Labor party. Two people who couldn’t organise a chook raffle in a brothel. The people in the Tea Party are tame compared to those two.

Sep 23, 2012 1:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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