Guest Post: Why Belgium Can Never Work

The political situation in Belgium - as Europe heads into elections - could well be the writing on the wall for every European country.

Submitted by 'Sudden Debt' as first appearing in Belgian Beurs,

Economists and politicians love to juggle with figures for the trees so you can not see the forest.

Economics is not always easy, but we have noticed that you can do it with an island of 100 people to make it understandable.

Let's call this island "RAINBOWLAND" .

Overall, it looks like this:

Of the 100 residents, 28 were working in the private sector . They go fishing , build houses , canoes , ...


Of the remaining 72 people , 40 are working for the government .


They provide education , security, secret service and justice .


But they also set rules for the workers . They determine import quotas for fishing , ensuring that everyone pays taxes and they invent new rules which everyone must adhere.


There are still 15 people who have no work. They receive an unemployment allowance .


The remaining 17 residents are children , pensioners and long-term sick. They receive money or children , pensions and sickness benefits.

As people who work in the private sector in Rainbowland they are the only ones that effectively produce something , they pay the taxes they pay the others with.

You can say that people who work for the government work to support the production, but in practice it is often the opposite.

Thanks to all kinds of rules and laws, workers must spend more time to comply with these rules, thus production slows.

Of course you do not have to be a genius to realize that a country such as " Rainbowland" can not survive in reality.

It is impossible to operate when only slightly more than a quarter of the population ensures overall welfare.

However there is a "country " in the world who gets it done. And that "land " is ... Wallonia in Belgium!

Of the 3.56 million inhabitants, there are only 1 million to work in the private sector . This corresponds to 28 % of the total population . (Or 28 people on an island of 100 inhabitants . )

The rest works for the government (40 % ) , unemployed ( 15 % ) or too young, too old or too sick to work ( 17 % ) .

Why is Wallonia successful in this as the only "country" in the world ?

Because they can count on the solidarity of the Flemings .

Since as many as 2.25 million people in Flanders in the private, throughout this region creates a lot of wealth .

The government has decided that workers should cede to Wallonia. An ( increasing ) share of that prosperity in Flanders In solidarity .

However, this solidarity with each new government seems to be increasing. The univercity of Leuven recently figured it transfers 16 billion euro .

That's 16 billion euro annually moved from Flanders to Wallonia .

But such figures do not, of course say a lot .

Let's make it comprehensible again .

I just told you that there are 2.25 million people in Flanders in private and that they pay with their production for those who do not produce .

16,000,000,000 divided by 2,250,000 euros " workers in the private " = 7.111 euro

Anyone with a job in the private pays 7,111 euros in taxes that go directly to Wallonia annually. That is just under 600 euros per month!

And it does not stop there.

Because this diligent worker not only pays for the Walloons . He also pays for its own government and solidarity with other Flemings .

What is the cost of this for a resident of Belgium ?

Well , all governments together spend 208.5 billion from last year .

That is what the government costs annually . And that amount is increasing year after year by the way. Ten years ago, for example, the expenditure amounted to "only" 143 billion.

So now we spend 65 billion per year more than we did 10 years ago !

Anyway, we were talking about the cost of government...208.5 billion in spending .

We have to share again by the number of workers in the private sector . In Flanders , Wallonia and Brussels together is that about 3.57 million people.

That gives ... 58,305 euros per year.

Take your calculator not hesitate to it to check the numbers. I also needed to recalculate that figure to believe these numbers several times

58,305 per year ... that's 4,858 euros per month .

Every working person in the private sector should therefore pay 4,858 euros per month in taxes to cover government spending.

And if you have the misfortune to live in Flanders, it becomes even more . Which is 4,858 euros with an average and as you know the Fleming pay a extra of 600 euros to Wallonia.

To finance the government they obviously need to increasing taxes

The government spending is now 55 % .

That means that 55 cents of every euro earned in Belgium, goes to the government .

However, more money for the government , also means less money for the population.

Less money to invest and consume .

In a country where the people have less and less money , the economy has obviously difficulties to grow.

Ok , we know that since the 2008 crisis and that is a convenient excuse to explain why there is no growth in Belgium .

We then conveniently forget that the economy in the previous period (2000-2006) also barely grew. The growth in this period was a meager 1.6% annualized .

If we look at it over a wider period , the figures are only sadder . The Belgian economy between 2000 and 2014, grew only 1.3 % on an annual basis .

The growing government stifles the economy.

However Flemings realize that all too well, remove the Walloon parties who seek a large government yet again!

A logical evolution since this language group has a direct interest in big government .

Nearly 3/4ths of the population who need government because of his or her income . You can hardly expect enthusiasm for smaller government from this quarter.

The Fleming wants , but sees his voice always evaporate in a left-wing government .

You just can not get around the socialists in Wallonia , so the socialists automatically form the basis for a federal government . Always.

And with the socialists in the government you automatically get a left policies increasing government .

The conclusion , for me at least , is that Wallonia and Flanders are two areas with a totally different idea about the role of government .

If one side says "white", you can hear the other side say " black " .

I'm not just talking about economic issues .

Also, on migration and justice , there is a lot of disagreement.

You need two parts of the country that rarely agree with each other to work together?

Is it so crazy to aim for a model in which each party in his part of the country's has to organise their own funding?

Because it seems to me the only way Belgium can continue to operate long term is to have separate accounts because as of now, one side keeps buying shoes with the joint account while the other side has to pay the rent with what’s left.