Final Word from Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Several readers came to the defense yesterday of Finance Minister Andrej Babiš after we questioned whether he had started acting more like a Keynesian politician than a businessman. One reader - a businessman himself - replied that higher GDP would indeed be a legitimate reason for more state borrowing, because it would be the equivalent of an increase in a company's turnover. Another businessman echoed this, saying that GDP is like the balance sheet of the country. (We would instead compare the relationship of GDP to the state to the overall market a company is active in, not to the company's own turnover or balance sheet.) The biggest defense of Babiš came from Babiš himself. He told Parlamentní listy that the country's debt on Dec. 31, 2013, was Kč 1.683 trillion and will also be at most Kč 1.683 trillion on Dec. 31, 2015. The deficits of Kč 90bn this year and Kč 100bn in 2015 will be paid from the billions lying unused at the Czech National Bank, he said. Are you convinced? If so, we have a bridge we'd like to sell you. [Czech Republic CNB ANO gross domestic product]

Glossary of difficult words

if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you - used as an ironic reaction to an idea or statement that is hard to believe.

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