Storm heading our way

Today is Prinsjesdag, the Dutch version of Budget day. It is the day on which the reigning monarch of the Netherlands (currently Queen Beatrix) addresses a joint session of the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives in the Ridderzaal or Hall of Knights in The Hague. The Speech from the Throne (Dutch: Troonrede) sets out the main features of government policy for the coming parliamentary session.

Given the current economical situation in the EUnion and the world at large, nobody was expecting this to be a day of light moods. But our own Finance minister, Jan Kees de Jager tried his best, or so it seemed, to put the fear of God in all and sundry: Economic storm threatens the Netherlands, says finance minister.

The Netherlands will have to dig its heels in to withstand the coming economic storm, finance minister Jan Kees de Jager told MPs on Tuesday, as he formally handed over the government’s 2012 spending plans to parliament.

‘We are being threatened by something, but we don’t know what is heading for us, or when, the minister said.

‘It is clear that 2012 is going to be a difficult year for a lot of people,’ De Jager said. ‘We have to make difficult choices and they will hurt.’

The Netherlands is a financially solid country, but still runs a deficit and the debt is increasing. This year alone the country will spend €70m too much every day.

The cabinet is trying to carve out a leading role in restoring financial stability to the EU, he said. This is why the government is keen to tighten up eurozone budget rules and prevent the spread of the Greek crisis. In the long term ‘we have to ensure our weaker brother does not bring down other countries in its wake,’ De Jager said.

The infuriating bit is of course the pigheaded refusal to look facts in the face. This crisis is not just a Greek crisis. Europe as a whole is broke. And far from being a help, both the euro and the EUnion are reinforcing the proof, on an almost daily basis, they are a hindrance, huge obstacles in the way of measures that serve the needs of each individual country and its economy.

Still, it was almost a relief to see that the minister had at least a beginning of an understanding of the magnitude of our current predicament. It was certainly refreshing to be spared the highly incredible happy-crappy talk that has polluted Dutch airways ever since Greece triggered this latest crisis. Just last week minister de Jager was seemingly adamant that the money on loan from the Netherlands to Greece would be paid back in full, with interest. Yes, that was the same week when the choir lamenting the imminent Greek default grew ten-fold overnight. De Jagers optimistic pronouncement was, unsurprisingly, met with general scorn and disbelief.

But all that aside, what is it that has minister de Jager running for his Mums apron? What does he know that we all should?

[UPDATE001] “Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone.” — Frederic Bastiat.

Ferdy points out a piece in Forbes outlining the stark choice we are presented with:

The result may be a new background consensus that recognizes the limits of what governments can do, and the cost of empowering them to do more. Or, supported by mobs in the streets, the governing elite may declare a state of emergency and seize businesses and property, consuming capital in the name of the greater good.

Or, in other words: Freedom or serfdom. Which do you pick?

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5 Responses to Storm heading our way

  1. DP111 says:

    'We are being threatened by something, but we don't know what is heading for us, or when, the minister said.Really? You don't know what? The storm has been kicked up by the EU. ————————————- 'It is clear that 2012 is going to be a difficult year for a lot of people,' De Jager said. 'We have to make difficult choices and they will hurt.'Difficult for ordinary people yes, who will have to pay for the stupidity of politicians. But we can rest assured, that the people who caused this catastrophe, will never admit that they were at fault, will not face any punishment for their incompetence, but will retire with a healthy pension, and move on to another nice earner. ————————————- The Netherlands is a financially solid country, but still runs a deficit and the debt is increasing. This year alone the country will spend €70m too much every day.How much does the Netherlands pay the organisation that is the main cause of putting the lives ordinary people in jeopardy? ————————————–Honest answers is something that you will never ever get from the current crop of the ruling class.

  2. Ferdy says:

    This Storm will bring damage to our finances, but there is an upside to this as I just read in Forbes:"The promises broken during this adjustment will betray the fundamental belief by many in the wisdom of the governing elites and the benevolence of government. The result may be a new background consensus that recognizes the limits of what governments can do, and the cost of empowering them to do more. "(Although the writer also paints a somewhat lesser attractive scenario as possible outcome)http://www.forbes.com/sites/charleskadlec/2011/09/19/greece-and-the-crisis-of-the-governing-elite/ 

  3. Klein Verzet says:

    I tend to agree with the main thrust of that article: It is make or break time. Either we regain our freedom, or we lose it for decades to come. Will 'the pox on both their houses' result in a re-asserting of independence? Or will we seek refuge with a supposedly 'strong' government? I hope for the best, but I am am not that confident…

  4. DP111 says:

    I have been advocating a Swiss style direct democracy for years.SuccinctlyAs I've written earlier- it is all about money. Control themoney, control everything. In Switzerlandthe people have the money, and they also control it. Thus 1. The Swiss constitution lays down a maximum rate oftaxation. This cannot be breached unless the people vote for it. 2. There is no PAYE in Switzerland. The governmenttherefore cannot extract the money out of your wages even before it arrives toyou.  You pay the tax that you and your canton have set, at theend of the financial year. 3. Most politicians in Switzerland are part time. Whatthis means is that politicians, for the most part, have their own real jobs andwages. They give their time and expertise freely, and can really be called“public servants”. 4. All Swiss citizens are armed to protect what they have. Directdemocracy of the Swiss variety gives all the power to Swiss citizens. Allpolicies, big or small, can be subject to a referendum. The decision to holdone also rests with the Swiss.One of the interestingfallouts of Direct democracy is that the Swiss vote heavily in referenda, buthardly bother to turn out when electing parties for parliament. This has beenshown in poll after poll. When one thinks about it, it is obvious why. Allpolicies are in the hands of the people. Politicians are merely appendage, theydo what they have been told to do by law – in reality,  it is the civil service that implements thelaw as defined by the people, period.  Noone gives a hoot for who is in “power” as they do not have the power.  

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