Final Word from Friday, March 4, 2011

There's the old Soviet joke (very loosely translated) about how the Politburo meets todecide which prices to increase in order to replenish the empty state coffers. "Startwith the letter A and pick a product," says the chairman. "Apples" is the immediateresponse. So they raise the price of apples. "What about B?" he asks. "Butter," theyall offer in unison. "C?" "Cheese" is the answer. They quickly get to the letter F, andthey're all stumped. What starts with the letter F? No response. Finally, one of themshouts out in desperation, "Fucking everything." And so it is too with Czech pensionreform. The price of effing everything is being raised. Czechs tend not to likethe Russkies much, but the Kalousek pension "reform" risks making them more likethem by the hour. Russians, you see, live for today and spend their money as quicklyas they earn it, because they never know who's going to take it from them next.

Glossary of difficult words

like -, like - = as - is, so is -; (for example, "like father, like son";

loosely - not verbatim; not exactly in the same words or with the same meaning as the original;

to replenish - to fill something up again;

coffers - the funds or financial reserves of a group or institution;

in unison - simultaneously; at one and the same time;

to be stumped - to be at a loss; to be unable to work out what to do or say;

effing - a politer way of saying "fucking".


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FS Final Word