America’s Economy Becoming Like Japan’s

April 4, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. follow in one’s footsteps [FOL-oh in wuh ns FOOT-steps] (idiom) – to do something that someone else has done before
Example: He wants to build a company to follow in his father’s footsteps.

2. decline [dih-KLAYN] (n.) – a decrease in number, amount or quality
Example:  People are spending less money because of the economic decline.

3. expand [ik-SPAND] (v.) – to become bigger in size or greater in amount
Example: The Chinese economy has been expanding greatly because of its manufacturing industry.

4. prediction [pri-DIK-shuhn] (n.) – a comment that suggests the possible result of a future event
Example: Analysts issued a prediction that the Philippine economy will grow in the next three years.

5. backfire  [BAK-fahyuhr] (v.) – to produce an opposite result to what was expected 
Example:   His plan to save money backfired because he bought an expensive computer.

Read the text below.

Analysts are predicting that the United States will follow in Japan’s footsteps towards economic decline.

The prediction comes at a time when the US is struggling with massive debt [det], reduced consumer spending, and slow economic growth. Such problems are familiar in Japan, whose own economy has been on a great decline for the past several years.

Toward the end of 2012, the US’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or earnings expanded only by 0.1%, which is much lower than the prediction of 0.5%. Similarly, Japan did not meet the expected 0.4% growth for the same time last year. Instead, Japan’s earnings fell by 0.4%.

Both nations also have large debts to pay. The US government will limit its budget so it can pay off the country’s debt. The country will reduce $85 billion on its budget each year for the next ten years. The budget cuts are expected to result in the loss of 750,000 jobs, and in lesser funds for defense and healthcare.

Analysts believe America’s GDP will reach 3% only by 2015, which means the country may take a few more years to recover from its economic problems.

In contrast to US’ plan, newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan plans to increase government spending to boost the economy. But analysts warn that the plan could backfire by further increasing Japan’s already large debt.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         When your country’s economy is weak, how does it affect you?
·         In what ways can ordinary people help improve the economy?

Discussion B

·         Would you say you spend your money wisely? Why or why not?
·         What can people do so that they can save more money?


April 4, 2013