The Battle Lines are Drawn - Updated and Berated
The budget deal will be discussed in a further post. This week was a flurry of policking in the Netherlands trying to come up with a budget to hand in to Brussels. The 'Kunduz' coalition of CDA, VVD, Groenlinks, D66 came up with the earliest package and got it through parliament today. The package includes changes to the retirement age, value added taxes (from the current 19 percent to 21 percent in October), labour laws, and a ban on interest-only loans. It looks like enough to reach the 3 percent target or thereabouts in 2013, but there is uncertainty about whether it will hold beyond the elections of 9 September. Politics in the Netherlands are a bit difficult to encapsulate here with the large number of parties in a proportional representation democracy. I am slowly trying to explain it from post to post. A more complete look at the package is coming shortly, but once again it's fate is somewhat uncertain as we have a care-taker government until the elections. Then anything is possible. The 'Kunduz' coalition seems to have won in the polls for its efforts, and De Jager of CDA led the negotiating effort and is identified as the most pivotal figure behind the deal. A lot of debates between various parties, but the Kunduz coalition seemed to have come up almost spontaneously with a deal. The rest were almost brushed aside. PvdA, SP and PVV voted against the deal. The package looks like it balanced the austerity, but things are looking questionable around the eureconomy and I expect plenty of tweaking in the coming months. The post is a bit wacky and open, befitting the times.
The problem with my massive borrowing operation is that it relies on whatever I can find wherever I can get it. The best insider stuff I can get comes from ZH and nakedcapitalism, which both don't have a lot I can use in the Dutch context [hint :)]. If I borrow heavily from them in my economic analysis I hope everyone understands.
Another concern is that I keep my anonymity to the best degree possible. So if I catch Woutertje or any other well-connected bobo of this bankrupt establishment snooping around online or anywhere else on me too keenly I'm going to scream bloody murder. I'd like my articles being read primarily by ordinairy critical thinkers, not well-paid investigators within the power structure.
Today I'm borrowing exclusively from nu.nl. Thank you. There's a deal that will be debated today. I'm not drawing any of my own conclusions on it for the time being. Whether nu.nl has the best dirt, I don't know, but I certainly don't find I need to check out sources like Elsevier to tighten things up for my purposes.
Pechtold of D66 says he's happy the glove has been picked up after the failed negotiations in the Catshuis. Not all parties were in agreement, with SGP calling it rubbish since they were not invited to the table. If Pechtold thinks he's going to apply his rhetorical prowess to discredit the appraisals and metaphors I use for him and his party, or any others I use he'd better include well-placed innuendos to the euro elephant stampeding around that needs to be taken down and buried or put back in the zoo. He's going to have a fight on his hands. Or he'll be politely ignored.
Rutte (VVD), in his appeal to the zeitgeist in the country said something 'very special had happened' in reaching a deal. And VVD leader Blok said the measures are painful but also offer 'the prospects for a better Netherlands'. Whatever, anything to avoid the 1.2 billion euro fine from Brussels is going to do that for the moment.
Wilders says he's going to duke it out for the ordinary, hard-working peoples. Samsom said the deal was a continuation of a right-wing coalition agreement supplemented by nasty measures agreed but poorly revealed in the Catshuis package. If he's keeping up with my posts, I hope he understands my position on pensions, but I'll let him appeal to the nearly retiring for the time being just as Wilders does.
Enough for the moment, just a few tidbits I'm afraid. I'm going to post this because it's going to be debated today anyway and we'll all get a chance to take pot shots later.
Readers, if you feel inclined, add your own insights.