Final Word from Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Most Western governments are in even worse shape than General Motors, because they can't count on a bailout from a higher authority when the real moment of death arrives. None of these essentially bankrupt governments can be expected to do much to reverse the trend. The name of the game is to see who can get closest to the edge without falling off. Ex-Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek has done as much as any Czech politician to drive the CR toward the precipice. He's also one of the best at shrugging off the responsibility. His biggest hope for the Oct. parliamentary elections is to present his TOP 09 party as the savior of the state budget. He told Czech Radio that Parliament simply can't be allowed to increase spending. If he now took up the mantra of reducing mandatory spending, he'd set himself apart from ODS and ČSSD. And perhaps he could at least help to slow the irreversible trend.[Czech Republic KDU-ČSL GM]

Glossary of difficult words

precipice - a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a very high one;

to shrug off (responsibility) - to dismiss, take no notice of;

mantra - a statement or slogan repeated frequently;

mandatory spending - public spending that is required by law (such as pensions and welfare), as opposed to discretionary spending that is subject to a government-level decision.


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