Reading ESL: economic stonewall

Tax and Spend

This is a summary of a story from the Korea Herald. I have posted a link to the original story and a vocabulary list for uncommon words after the summary.


Opposition law makers in South Korea’s parliamentary assembly say they will block President Park Geun-hye’s plans to expand her government’s budget in 2015 by increasing taxes. The South Korean government is afraid that the Korean economy is facing ten years of economic bad news, just like Japan’s ‘Lost Decade’ (1990s). To prevent this, the Korean government wants to increase taxes so that it can also increase government spending.

The government wants to increase the money it receives by taxing cigarettes and increasing car taxes, as well as a small increase in business taxes. The opposition says this is unfair because low income or poor people will be at an even bigger disadvantage, especially as the government is planning to also introduce a poll tax, which is like a residential tax, for everybody.

The opposition says that these new taxes will anger the ordinary people. Koreans do not like powerful politicians. Koreans, according to the article, do not like it when governments act without consulting the opposition. The government must not look like it is taking advantage of the smaller opposition party, but the government must also balance the budget, and the only way to do that is by raising taxes.

Original Article

Vocabulary List

STONEWALL (v) to prevent something from happening; to block something (like you are building a stone wall). The Assembly will block (stonewall) the government’s tax increases.

OPPOSITION (n) the politicians who are not on the same side as the government politicians. Opposition politicians oppose (v) the government’s policies.

BUDGET (n) a plan for managing money.

HIKE (n) a sudden increase; to raise the price (a price hike). A tax hike is a tax increase.

ENTAILED (v) included

FISCAL (adj) money and finance

DETERIORATING (V) getting worse

LEVIES (n) another form of taxes; levies (extra taxes) are often put onto the price of luxury goods.


MODERATE (adj) small amount; a moderate increase is a small increase.

BURDEN (n) a heavy thing to carry; a heavy tax burden means you have to pay a lot of tax.

MASTERMINDED (v) cleverly planned and carried out; a mastermind (n) is a very intelligent person.

ARRAY (n) a wide selection; a wide array of opportunities means a lot of different opportunities are available.

IMMENSE (adj) very large

UNILATERAL (adj) to act alone; a unilateral decision is made by one person (or one party).

FIRESTORM (n) a very difficult time with lots of arguments and fighting.

BULLYING (v) stronger people taking advantage of weaker people.


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