Another bank, another bailout
So the joke going round the financial centres these days is “You’re not a bank unless you’ve had a government bailout.”
The UK, Europe, USA, Japan, now South Korea…they’re all bailing out the banks. To the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars for each region, trillions globally. But just what do bail out and bailout mean?
bail someone/something out (phrasal verb): to free someone or something from a difficulty or problem. If you owe a friend $1000 that you cannot pay, and your dad comes along and pays the money for you—then you’ve just been bailed out, your dad bailed you out.
bailout (noun): financial assistance given to a failing business (or a failing country) to save it from collapse
Right now, governments of the world are taking tax-payers’ money and giving it to banks to bail them out because without the bailout—so the argument goes—the banks would collapse and the whole financial system of the world would come crashing down around our ears.
NB: these are not the only meanings for bail and bail out, but they’re the only ones that matter in the days of Armageddon 🙂
By Josef Essberger for EnglishClub October 2008
Josef started teaching English as a foreign language in 1991 and founded EnglishClub for learners and teachers in 1997.
Imran Hussain says:
Awesome stuff….really caught my attention…thanx Mr.Joe
Md.Jahirul Islam says:
My comment alwayes that how can I learn substantially? Plz, regard this.
lol nicely put by ian
hanane asks: Can you tell me where is all the money that were in these banks? I just cannot imagine it!
– in the towering skyscrapers of Dubai*
– in the Mercedes of Moscow*
– in a million graves in Iraq
– in the grief of 5,000 families of dead American servicepeople, not to mention 30,000 wounded
– in the $billions the USA gives the military of Pakistan and other countries
– in the flat screens and cellphones and countless consumer items that the world has been buying for the last decade
– in the fancy homes of the “American dream”
All of it, whether personal or government, bought on credit. One day the party had to end.
* paid for not directly by credit, but by oil money from the USA (and others), largely on credit
Hello dear joe,
But Can you tell me where is all the money that were in these banks? I just cannot imagine it!
Some people in the U.S. (mostly politicians) are trying to avoid using the word “bailout” because it gives the impression that the people who made so many bad loans will not be punished for their mistakes. The government, and so the taxpayers, will pay the cost for those mistakes instead.
These people use the word “rescue” to imply that the banks will be saved but that the government will somehow, someday, get their money back. In a perfect world, that could happen – the government has taken over some properties that could be resold at a higher price in the future. Unfortunately, the last time I looked, we weren’t living in a perfect world!
The Other Joe