06 March 2010

Vocabulary In the News : 05 March 2010 – The Toronto Sun (Canada)

CAN_TSUNCanadian Finance Minister James Michael "Jim" Flaherty is the target of a very unflattering image on the front page of the Toronto Sun. They are calling him a tightwad due to a the fiscal restraints in his newly proposed federal budget. A tightwad is someone who always tries to avoid spending money. A good literary example of a tightwad would the be the protagonist of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's famous A Christmas Carol. In fact, this character is so famous that a scrooge is synonymous with tightwad.

Fiscal restraints is the term used to imply that limits or controls are being placed on the money being spent. The Harper government in Canada is trying to rein in current spending. To rein in means to limit or control something that has developed too much or has continued too long. The image is that of a horse which is controlled and directed by pulling on the reins.

In one of the front page’s headlines, it states, “Fiscal restraint the order of the day in Flaherty’s ‘stay-the-course’ budget.” When we say that something the order of the day, we are saying that it is usual or common at a particular time. During economic good times, it was the order of the day for the government to spend a lot of money on various projects and social programs. Now, because of the economic downturn, cutbacks in spending will be the order of the day. The new budget is being called the ‘stay-the-course’ budget. This comes from the verbal expression ‘to stay the course’ which means to continue doing something despite the difficulties. Former President Bush used to say the United States needed to stay the course in Iraq.

The budget will cut spending across the board. This term is both an adverb and an adjective (written across-the-board) and means that it involves everything or everyone affected by a particular situation. Full story >>

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