Final Word from Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yulia Latynina, a Russian investigative journalist, estimated that officials in her country misappropriate 50-70% of GDP. She calls it "value-subtracted" and says that it's the reason things are so much more expensive there. Domestic production isn't rising, she said, but the share of corruption attributable to every earned ruble is. A reasonable estimate for the Czech Republic might be that 20% of the state budget is stolen or wasted. This is also roughly the size of the annual budget deficit. Wipe out the corruption and waste, and you wipe out the deficit. Anyone, whether a politician, businessperson, banker, analyst or other opinion leader, who talks about raising taxes or raising spending without stressing the need to crack down on fraud and waste in government finances is a facilitator of corruption. They need to be exposed for what they are. We're going to start taking their names down and printing them.[Czech Republic value-added Radio Echo Moskvy Ekho]

Glossary of difficult words

facilitator - someone who, through his actions or words, makes an action or process easier; 

Yulia Latynina - see her shows from Oct. 31, Nov. 7 and Nov. 11 (in Russian only); 

to misappropriate - to dishonestly or unfairly take something (esp. money belonging to another) for one's own use; 

value-subtracted - as opposed to value-added; under Latynina's definition, the amount by which the price of an article rises because of money taken by government officials; 

budget - the 2010 Czech budget calls for revenue of Kč 1.0 trillion and a deficit of Kč 163bn;

to crack down - to take severe measures to restrict or discourage undesirable or illegal behavior; 

to expose - to reveal the true (and typically objectionable) nature of someone or something.

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