When Reform Doesn't Pay the Bills

BELA SZANDELSZKY / AP

HEAD BOY: Gyurcsany after a vote of confidence this month

What's gnawing at Slovakia? Its economy is booming — up 50% in the past four years — and a series of radical free-market measures, including flat taxes, have helped to attract billions of euros in foreign investment. Some salaries have doubled, home mortgages are all the rage and the country (pop. 5.4 million) will soon become the world's top producer of cars per capita.

Yet when they voted in elections this summer, the Slovaks threw out the government and replaced it with one headed by Robert Fico, a lawyer turned politician who's promising to tax the rich...

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