Final Word from Wednesday, December 1, 2004





It's one of the oldest political tricks in the book. Politicians set a high spending target and then devote weeks or months to talking about making cuts to the target, thereby drawing attention away from the outrageous initial figure. Poof! A spending increase becomes a spending cut. Today's headlines in the CR are full of budget "cuts." The cabinet hasn't yet gotten its 2005 budget passed but is already talking about the Kč 70bn in reductions it plans for 2006-7. This is because the CR is coming under attack for complacency now that it's been accepted into the cozy EU club. The chances that the CR's state budget will actually be lowered in 2006-7 are practically nil. Spending is running wild, and adoption of the euro by the 2009/2010 target date looks increasingly unlikely. Unless, of course, politicians use another old hat trick and manage to get the rules changed. Czech Republic convergence plan

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