Final Word from Wednesday, September 29, 2004





Peter G. Peterson writes in his new book, "Running on Empty," that the Democratic and Republican Parties in the U.S. are bankrupting the country's future. They've formed an unholy alliance, he says, that could lead to fiscal catastrophe. When everyone was criticizing the unholy "opposition agreement" between Miloš Zeman and Václav Klaus, they mainly attacked the sharing of power. Now, though, spending on entitlement programs (welfare, pensions, etc.) is growing so fast that the question must be raised why ČSSD and ODS didn't use their power sharing at the time to reform the welfare system. The social-affairs ministry's budget is set to rise next year by 18%, to 37% of the total state budget. ODS, as the likely winner of the next general elections, is promising to reduce spending, but it had a chance as recently as 2-3 years ago, and it failed to act.

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