I don’t know enough about the financial crisis here in the U.S. to explain why our economy is having so many problems, but I can explain some of the headlines (titles) that have appeared recently in U.S. newspapers for those of you who are interested in reading the news in English.
Here is the main (most important, largest) headline from today’s Wall Street Journal:
Bailout Plan Rejected, Markets Plunge, Forcing New Scramble to Solve Crisis
Let’s begin with bailout. To bail something/someone out literally means to remove water, usually from a boat or ship that has a leak (where water is entering the boat and causing it to go down or sink). A bailout (noun), however, is when you give money to someone or some company to help them when their business is failing. The U.S. government has been giving money to large financial companies to prevent them from failing in the past two weeks. Yesterday, the U.S. Congress (the part of the government that makes and approves new laws) rejected or said no to a plan to provide even more money to these businesses. Because they said no, the stock markets plunged. To plunge means to go down very quickly or rapidly. You can also use plunge when something goes down in the water very quickly. Plunge is similar here to the verb to dive, which again means to go down quickly.
So the bailout plan was rejected by the U.S. Congress, causing the stock markets to plunge. Now what happens? Well, the U.S. government has to find a new solution, so they are looking desperately – scrambling – to solve this crisis or serious problem. To scramble, then, means to move quickly after something goes wrong, usually something you didn’t expect to go wrong. Many people thought that Congress would approve the bailout plan, so when it failed to pass yesterday, there was a scramble to find a new solution.
The New York Times‘ headline was similar:
Defiant House Rejects Huge Bailout; Stocks Plunge; Next Step is Uncertain
A defiant person is someone who disobeys or says no to something. The House refers to the House of Representatives, which is one half of the U.S. Congress (the other part is called the Senate). So the House rejected the large or huge bailout plan, the stock market plunged, and now no one knows what will come next. The next step or action for the government is uncertain.