Final Word from Thursday, December 20, 2012

If the same criteria used by Time to choose its Person of the Year were used in the CR, the Czech laureate would probably have to be Václav Klaus. He's liked by more than 50% of the population, and he had an impact on almost everything happening in the country. But just as Ben Bernanke would have been a more objective choice in the U.S. because of his devastating $40-85bn per month in quantitative easing, Miroslav Kalousek had the bigger direct impact in the CR. His fingerprints are all over the year-end tax madness now engulfing business; he's responsible for more government borrowing than nearly all the other Czech finance ministers put together; he's adding to the debt again by continuing to overstate the country's growth prospects; and he was partly to blame for the nearly 40 deaths this year from methanol poisoning. There's no point in sugarcoating it: Kalousek is the anti-person of the year.[Czech Republic United States Time Magazine Federal Reserve Bank VAT tax package]

Glossary of difficult words

laureate - a person who is honored with an award for outstanding creative or intellectual achievement;

quantitative easing - an increase in the money supply through the purchase by a central bank of government securities;

fingerprints are all over something - someone's identifying marks are clearly visible on something;

to engulf - to sweep over something so as to surround or cover it completely;

to sugarcoat - to make something superficially attractive or acceptable.

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