Final Word from Friday, May 15, 2009

It doesn't always work, but if you want to know what's going to happen in your own backyard, watch what's happening across the big pond. Wall Street gave us the financial crisis, Starbucks gave us the $4 cup of coffee, and the American mass media gave us the swine-flu hysteria. Now, almost 25% of Americans are underwater with their mortgages, because property prices are plummeting, yet U.S. cities and counties in many cases are raising property taxes to compensate for falling revenue in other areas. Often, the new tax value is far greater than the fair market value of the property, but the deck is stacked against anyone who tries to fight the tax assessor. In the first phase of the real-estate crisis, people walked away from their homes because they were underwater with their mortgage. In the second phase, people are increasingly holding fire sales or walking away from their property because it no longer makes sense to pay the tax. Let's hope this is one fad that misses the Czech Republic.[Czech Republic United States of America]

Glossary of difficult words

own backyard - (in this sense) the area close to where one lives;

across the big pond - in the U.S.;

underwater with a mortgage - the value of the property is less than the amount owed on it;

deck is stacked against - the conditions are such that one has little chance of success;

tax assessor - a person who calculates or estimates the value of something for tax purposes;

fire sale - a sale of goods or assets at a very low price (in this case, because the market is not very active);

fad - a craze or mania.


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