Re: ECON: Dutch Miracle or Dutch Disease?

Joost de Lyser (
Sat, 20 Sep 1997 00:58:01 +0200

At 03:15 PM 9/19/97 +0200, Arjen wrote:
>It doesn't? Jeez. Then why is the current governement able to lower defecit
>spending, reduce the national debt, raise expenditure on health- and
>elderlycare, environment and various other fields and *still* able to lower
>taxes by a significant margin *in the same year* (!!).

Lowering taxes ???

National and Income taxes have been lowered but at the same time govt
spending has increased. The way the Netherlands has been able to do this:

-Privatizing govt owned services/industries. (=basically selling to its
population what they already payed for)
-Raising special taxes & fines. (using health and environment as an
excuse), and focussing police effort on fining petty violations of the law
that generate income, while real crimes are left unpunished, as they know
the violators can't *pay* for their crimes anyway. (local corps commanders
get a percentage on speeding/parking tickets...)
-Increasing local taxes, local govt's need to increasingly fund their own
areas expenses.

So no real tax decrease, just a shift in how state income is generated.

With any gov't wether it has a more social or a more economically liberal
policy, it's what they do with the money they take from its people, for its

What the netherlands last governement has done is take away more from its
people (higher fines for petty law violations without an increase in crime
prevention, higher special taxes, higher local taxes, lowering the
healthcare budget, lowering the education budget) while expanding its power
over those people (more governement jobs).

>That they do, average-income maybe lower than in the US. But it's not like
>we're poor.

No that is true, but we also have no "filthy rich" because they're smart
enough to move to tax paradises. Even higher middle class people are off
better living in neighbouring countries, which is why the netherlands has
such a high tax refugee rate. (talk about solidarity). All kinds of
obligated social security laws, have led to firms paying even their
admistrative employees through all kind of benefits, to keep the taxable
income as low as possible. (more solidarity ?)

The people who pay for the countries solidarity are the working man, and
the lower middle class, as they do not have a tax advisor who can decrease
their taxable income, and don't pay enough of their income to make it
economically interesting to live accross the border.

>I realize that it's not a good thing to say 'It's so great here'

Every country is a great country to live in if you're the average citizen
in everything (Aristotle already said this for most societies). The
Netherlands maybe the most averaged out country in europe, no extremes in
wealth and poverty, no extremes in political opinion, no extremes
whatsoever in anything. Yet if you compare every european country to the
'big brother' visions, it may be the country that comes closest to it.
Criticism of the gov't/state must be near zero on a european index of 100,
voting participation one of the lowest. Public opinion is controlled by two
major publishers, and the gov't media. People look to the state to fix all
their petty problems for them, while having no insight or interest
whatsoever in real issues.

>- You can never find a parking space (I hear - I do not own a car yet ;-)

Which isn't so strange, if you realize that parking tickets finance our
police depts, and most parking spaces are gov't property. It's like this
town here in Belgium who's major owns most of the parking spaces in the
(btw, i don't own a car either, it's not the car that costs money, it's the
outrageous taxes on fuel, car taxes & the obligated insurance fees, ...but
also the repair costs ;) )

btw. It's not such a bad idea to start your own company in European
countries, where luxury tax is around 20% on everything you buy as a
consumer. (I would have, if i could only explain to the tax inspector that
i need food, coffee and cigarettes to work... ;) )

Joost de Lyser.