Crazy Dutchies: Part II

Our politicians have lost their minds. Supposedly, we need to cut back approximately 10 billion euros this year, on top of the cutbacks we’re already got. I guess that makes sense, if you (as a country) spend more than you actually have. I mean, just look at Greece and the shit they’re in these days. So fine, let’s cut back on a few things. Our politicians have already made a list of stuff to cut back on or make more money from:

1. Health Care
We used to have a really good health care system. Everybody over 18 used to pay an x-amount monthly, and in return, when they get ill, a lot of the expenses were covered. This system changed a little bit when I turned 18, with the main change being the monthly rate; it went up from around €40,- a month, to €100,- a month. On top of that, they decided that the “base insurance” was mandatory; everybody who didn’t have one, would get a fine. You did get to choose if you wanted any extra insurances, because the base one didn’t quite cover everything. You could also get some money back after a year if your expenses stayed under €250,- that year. In the years after that, the monthly rate went up and up and up while the base insurance covered less and less, and they even had a new idea: a mandatory “own risk” thing. The “own risk” was a kind of threshold; if you stayed under an x amount (it started around €120, and this year it’s €220), you had to pay most of your medical expenses yourself. Everything above that amount would be covered IF it was in your insurance kit. I guess this is “good” when your expenses are way over that threshold all the time, but I, for instance, spend maybe €60,- a year, if anything. So I pay €130 a month for a year, only to pay all my expenses myself anyway. Where’s the point in that? But it gets better: To make their cutbacks possible, they want to raise the “own risk” policy with another 25% next year. All in all, the mandatory insurances get more expensive, cover less, and when you’re not terminally ill you’re screwed. Way to go!

2. VAT (taxes)
Almost every country has a certain rate of VAT you pay over everything you buy. Here in the Netherlands, it’s either 6% (on food) or 19% (“luxury goods” like clothes and everything that’s not food). As if it’s not bad enough that 33%-52% of your well-earned salary goes to the tax administration office! And now they’re even thinking of raising the VAT rates! But wait, it gets even better…

3. Salaries
They want to freeze salaries! So combined with point #2 here, we’ll earn the same money, give the same amount to the tax administrations, and then give some more to them through VAT. What the fuck? Please do note that these ideas come from people who earn what, 300K yearly. If I had that amount of money, I wouldn’t mind freezing it either. The average yearly income for the rest of us is around €33.000 this year.

4. Mortgage
They’re bitching that the economy is so bad, that people hardly buy houses/apartments any more, but they want to skip the Mortgage Interest Deduction for everybody. The MID is a small amount (approximately €180 a month) you can get back from the tax administration office when you own a house/apartment. Despite being a small amount, it helps a lot of us; without it I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills, and a lot of people with me. And now they want to quit it. How can they expect that the rate of home sales can ever rise again? Sure, for people who have 50K houses it doesn’t matter, but again, what about the rest of us?

5. Education
The Netherlands were a pretty good country, educationwise. The government would cover an x amount of schooling money, leaving us with “only” a yearly fee of between €800 and €1700. This way, everybody who wanted to go to college, could do just that. Imagine all the possible benefits coming from us being super educated! But noooo… They’re cutting back on that as well. Partly, I understand: If you seriously need 5+ years to finish a 4-year college program, you’re stupid and wasting money anyway. But if you’re smart and super motivated and want to do another college course, you shouldn’t get screwed by having to pay €10.000 yearly to do that.

Days like this, I wish I was a politician. What I would do?

1. Cut back on politicians’ salaries. They don’t need 300K if the rest of us can manage with a lot less.
2. Take away the MID for houses over 4K. Again, a lot of us don’t even own a house that expensive.
3. Don’t buy the Joint Strike Fighter. We don’t need it. Hell, we don’t even have room for it.
4. Invest less in warfare.
5. Encourage education (within limits). Knowledge is power for a reason.

Anyway… Enough for today. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed part II of this series.

Love,

ML-X

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Crazy Dutchies: Part I

Dutch people are an amusing interesting folk, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like them. Some of the things they do are just plain weird. Curious? Get ready for a little summary:

1. The Law
As in every other country, the Dutchies have their law. But not only is it the least strict law known to humanity, it’s also the strangest one. Why? Well, let’s say you cross the speed limit with 3 kilometers per hour. You’ll get a large fine for sure. But, if you decide to spend 10 years of your life stealing money from old people (and we’re talking a total of several millions here), they might put you in prison for 2,5 years. Yes, might. Being in prison is expensive, so they might just let you go because that’s cheaper. Murder gets you 2-5 years as well, by the way, so if you ever need to get rid of somebody… Haha, just kidding. Moral of the story: crime pays here. But only if you do it right. 

2. Prisons
Dutch prisons are unlike any other prison I’ve ever seen (on TV that is ;)), and mostly they’re reminiscent of four star hotels. A Dutch prisoner has a cell of his/her own, 4 meals a day, TV in the room, and if desired a PlayStation/XBOX/whatever can be brought in. They have time “off”, time to exercise, and what not. So if and when they put you in, enjoy. Because in this country, for a lot of people life in prison is by far more luxurious than daily life.

3. Politics
Politics-wise, this is a strange country as well. Every idiot with an x number of supporters’ signatures can start a political party. And that’s how, in 2006, we had a pro-paedophile political party, the “Party For Neighbourly Love, Freedom and Diversity”, which we “normal folk” called the “Pedo Party”, because that’s what it actually was. Luckily, it turned out that they didn’t get enough support to become eligible for election, and the party was dissolved in 2010. But seriously… Pedo party?

4. Legalization
As known to most of you (since that’s what the Netherlands are famous for), soft drugs and prostitution is fully legal here. The reasoning behind the first one is that, if it would be illegal, more people would be using because everything that’s illegal is attractive. Pretty smart, huh? If you ask me, both of these points are merely there to generate more income from tourism. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing to see here, really.

5. War
Unlike a lot of other countries, we haven’t really had in-country wars after the 1800’s. Sure, during World War II we hated the Germans (still do) and printed illegal newspapers, and sold out our Jewish neighbours (although everybody will tell you they didn’t), but apart from that… But we love to meddle help out other countries. So we’ve messed around in Bosnia during the Bosnian Wars (up to date, nobody really knows what happened there, but it sure was sufficient for the entire 2002 government to resign), hated Serbia during the Kosovo war, and we’re currently involved in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libiya. And when one of our soldiers dies during war, it’s national news. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t death a risk during war? I doubt that Americans -who have by far more soldiers stationed there- collectively cry every time something happens. On top of that, it’s not that we’re in to help out all those Afghans/Iraqi’s/whatever, noooo… We’re in to support the United States. Because if and when we’ll have warfare of our own (terrorism and all that), they will support us back… Which makes sense, until you realize that the Netherlands are so freaking small, that war here would be the most pointless thing ever. And not only because of the fact that if you drop a bomb here, the whole fucking country is gone. Terrorists are idiots, but they’re not that stupid.

See what I mean? They’re just plain weird… In fact, there’s more, but  I’ve decided to make a series out of it because it’s way too much for one post. And we wouldn’t want any Dutchie overkill, now would we?

Anyway… Feel free to share your thoughts and as always, thanks for reading!

Love,

ML-X