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Even The Dutch Are Slashing Government

From a betrayed Associated Press:

Dutch government to cut benefits in 2011

September 21, 2010

AMSTERDAM — The Netherlands’ queen and the outgoing prime minister presented an austere annual budget on Tuesday that slashes government jobs, spending on immigrants, and tax breaks for families — a foretaste of more far-reaching cuts likely to come under the conservative Cabinet now being formed.

How outrageous! Do they want total anarchy? Don’t let them try anything like this in Colorado.

At the start of an afternoon full of ceremonies, rituals and conspicuous hats, Queen Beatrix rode through the streets of The Hague in her gold-trimmed horse-drawn carriage, waving to tens of thousands of fans who lined the route leading to the 13th-century Hall of Knights…

In her speech, she outlined the government’s plans for the year ahead — despite the lack of a new Cabinet 104 days after national elections.

"A far-reaching package of cuts is necessary now to improve the position of our country in the long term," Beatrix said, reading a text written by outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

Balkenende’s budget targets euro3.2 billion ($4.2 billion) in cuts from the government’s current level of around euro270 billion in spending by 2015, reducing the deficit to 3.9 percent of economic output next year.

A number the US can only dream about.

Those cuts are likely to be overshadowed by the new government still in coalition-building talks, which is targeting a more rigorous euro18 billion in reductions over the same period.

The Cabinet under negotiation includes the two traditional conservative Dutch parties, with outside support from the anti-Islam Freedom Party. But Balkenende’s budget focused squarely on economic issues rather than the debate over Islam and immigration that has dominated Dutch politics for the past decade.

Which makes one wonder if Mr. Obama didn’t bring up the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and ‘Koran Burnings’ to change the subject away from the economy.

His budget includes plans for reducing the amount of money spent on integrating immigrants, mostly through mandatory language and citizenship classes. He will also cut 4,000 government jobs and reduce a tax break given to working parents with children in daycare.

With politicians deadlocked over reforms to the country’s pension system since before the election, Dutch labor unions and employers’ associations have agreed on their own accord to raise the national retirement age from 65 to 66 in 2020 and to 67 in 2025.

The incoming government hopes to effect those increases more quickly.

Don’t worry. It can’t happen here. We’ll go belly up before the unions would ever agree to such a travesty.

"To assure coming generations of a good pension after an industrious life, an increase in the pension age seems reasonable," Beatrix said, sidestepping the debate.

She doesn’t seem to be sidestepping anything.

The Dutch economy is relatively healthy, with 1.5 percent growth forecast in 2011 and unemployment expected to fall to 5.5 percent

It must be sheer coincidence. Their fiscal policies couldn’t have anything to do with it.

Still, did you ever think you would live to see the day that you would envy Europe for their sound conservative principles?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, September 21st, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Even The Dutch Are Slashing Government”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    “The Dutch economy is relatively healthy, with 1.5 percent growth forecast in 2011 and unemployment expected to fall to 5.5 percent…

    Which, you may recall, the NYT called a “failing economy” under George Bush when referring to virtually identical numbers about the US.

  2. Mithrandir says:

    I made a photoshop picture:

    PROSPERITY NOW (union guys shaking money out of Uncle sam) AUSTERITY LATER (Uncle Sam shaking money out of the people)


  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    It occurred to me today that the slogan “Yes We Can!” was misunderstood.

    What he really meant to say, and perhaps did was “Yes, Weaken!” as it pertained to employment and the economy.

    Seems to make more sense.

  4. Mae says:

    “Yes, Weaken!” Good one, Rusty!

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