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Idiom "basket case"


US Economy


basket case

crack up

cut down

turn things around

bail out

lay off

bottom line



Bobby: Now, the US auto industry cracking up. They have already laid off five thousands people this week.

Stacy: The bill to bail them out has not passed the US congress. The government is only lending them some money. So what's next?

Bobby: No one knows the answer yet. I guess, the auto industry needs to find the money from somewhere else and continue to cut cost. The bottom line is they will continue cutting down jobs.

Stacy: What's the point then if they lay off workers?. How can all these thousands of laid-off people help the economy survive?

Bobby: Well. In order not to become a basket case altogether soon, the auto industry must turn things around. If they cut cost, they will perhaps have money to overhaul their business..

Stacy: But, the US auto industry has been irresponsible to the market demand. They kept making big cars although consumers want small and fuel-efficient cars. So, how could they get things right soon if consumers are not buying their cars?

Bobby: You are absolutely right about it. It beats me, too.


basket case: a helpless person who is unable to take care of himself/herself. In this case, it is the US automobile industry who cannot help themselves. They will become a basket case if they cannot improve their situation.

crack up: to lose control physically and mentally.. Example: My boss is cracking up because of financial difficulties of our company. This sentence means this: My boss is losing his peace of mind. because of financial difficulties of our company. My marriage will crack up soon because we argue so much. This sentence means this: My marriage will end because we argue so much.

cut down: to decrease. Example: I have cut down the sugar and lost a lot weight. This sentence means this: I have decreased the amount of sugar intake and lost weight. I cut down on weekend's dining to save more money. This sentence means this: I have stopped eating out a lot in order to save money.

turn things around: Improve the situation dramatically.


A: We need new schools for our children. Our classrooms are extremely crowded.

B: Yap. But we must have a right president to turn things around.

It beats me: It puzzles me; concerns me; I don't know the answer

bottom line: what is most important; what matters

bail out: to pay all he money needed to save somebody or business.

lay off: to terminate workers due to financial difficulties or lack of jobs


bill: written proposal by the US congress

end: give money or things for use and then pay back or return

survive: to manage to live on; be able to provide for yourself under difficult conditions such as in a bad economy if you are laid off; be stay healthy if you have a health problem. Examples: My mother survived to her seventies with her lung cancer. My father has lost his job but he survived. He has started his own business now.

overhaul: to improve, lift up

fuel-efficient: transportation vehicles that use less gas per mileage than the old-fashioned vehicles











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