Final Word from Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's a political trick as old as the hills, but the crisis has given new relevance to the practice of sharply increasing government spending and then flamboyantly announcing a war on government spending. Barack Obama did it in grand style recently, and now the new Czech finance minister, Eduard Janota, is following suit. First he pulled a big-spending, Kč 212bn projected budget deficit out of thin air for 2010, and then he put on the mask of an economizer in demanding Kč 60bn in "budget cuts." The apparent goal is to make it seem normal for the country to be running two Kč 150bn annual deficits in a row (on projected annual revenue of about Kč 1 trillion). It's not at all normal, though. In fact, it's scary as hell. Janota said in HN today that even in his darkest dreams, it didn't occur to him that the 2009 budget could turn out this way. Yeah, right. He's much more of a politician than he admits.[Czech Republic Hospodářské noviny]

Glossary of difficult words

to balloon a budget - to cause it to swell or expand;

as old as the hills - of very long standing or of great age;

flamboyantly - in a manner that attracts attention because of exuberance and confidence;

to follow suit - to conform to another's actions;

out of thin air - from nowhere;

economizer - a person who reduces expenditures;


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