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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Leave my pension money in the hands of the people that are responsible for it, please. Don’t squander it on stupid ideas!!!

In 2012, the Cabinet Mark Rutte II in The Netherlands became infamous for producing a government agreement, which seemed more schizophrenic than Harvey Two-Face: The document seemed to consist out of two different documents, which were merged together, seemingly without any mutual points of tangency.

While this government agreement had been produced in a record time, it had to be altered even quicker, under pressure of infuriated party members from Rutte’s liberal-conservative party VVD.

Since that moment, the cabinet has generally excelled in giving in on ever greater parts of their government agreement, seemingly with an understanding smile, and by producing one stupid idea after another.

The latest idea in this range is: forcing the pension funds to invest pension money in Dutch Small and Medium Enterprise. Het Financieele Dagblad writes upon this ‘great idea’:

The Cabinet Mark Rutte has promised to investigate, whether pension reserves could be used for the credit supply to Small and Medium Enterprise.
A special ‘explorer’, appointed by the cabinet, should look at this possibility with the pension funds and Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp. 

Hans Biesheuvel, chairman of MKB Nederland (i.e. SME Netherlands), said to have received this promise from the cabinet, during the negotiations on the Social Agreement, which was set last Thursday evening, April 11.

‘We need more capital and I’m more and more convinced that the banks won’t get their act together for the time being’, according to Biesheuvel. ‘We own a great capital in pension money. Is it not possible to use a small part of this for credit lending? Not for the funding of companies, but for investments’.

With this proposal, the cabinet tries yet again to use the pension funds for solving a funding problem elsewhere in the Dutch economy.

Boy, does the cabinet! 

The cabinet tries to use pension money for mortgages, for funding of roads, banks and healthcare. And now for funding investments in the SME business.

When does this cabinet finally understand that they should not mess with other people’s money!!!

To make it perfectly clear: it is not the obligation of the pension funds and pension insurers to save the Dutch economy! 

It is their obligation to sensibly and profitably invest the deposits of their members / policy holders, in order to get as high yields as possible for their customers: the current workers and current / future retirees.

If the Dutch pension funds / insurers think it is better to invest their money outside The Netherlands, they probably do so for a good reason.

The cabinet should not mess with this pension money, as the cabinet cannot be held responsible for the return on the investments made. The Dutch pension funds, however, ARE responsible. Leave them alone!!!

The Dutch Small and Medium Enterprise does indeed suffer from a funding problem, suffocating some companies, which would otherwise have been more successful. And indeed the Dutch banks do not always have their act together yet. 

On the other hand, the banks still do supply money to people with good ideas. The only difference with 2007 is that banks are much more finicky now and only reward the very best ideas. 

Besides that, this crisis in The Netherlands came from excess debt, excess consumption and excess mortgages. Also in The Netherlands people spent more money than they earned at the end of 2007.

This crisis is not something ‘not invented here’, which was imported from the USA. The same patterns of failing risk awareness and conspicuous consumption, spurred by fairytale interest rates and ubiquitous optimism, and the same shop-until-you-drop attitude was present here in The Netherlands.

Still, associations like MKB Nederland (the employer’s organization for SME companies) and VNO/NCW (large enterprises) think that the clock should be turned back to 2007, making this year last forever.

People, like Hans Biesheuvel, don’t understand that the people were sick and tired of excess debt, excess housing prices and excess spending. They still don’t grasp that this crisis has been caused as much by the Dutch people, who didn't want to be a slave of their debt anymore, as it has been caused by the banks.

Now, we are in a huge recession (I would say ‘depression’): people are afraid of losing their jobs, their house and their lifestyle and keep their money firmly in their pockets. Their consumer confidence is almost at an ‘all time low’. This probably won’t change in the coming months or even years, until all the financial misery and all bubbles are lifted out of the market and people can finally get confident again.

At the same time, this unfortunate cabinet is trying to squander the people’s hard-earned pension money on all kinds of economic castles in the air, as it doesn’t want to accept that we are in a recession/depression, which might take years to overcome.

The cabinet still thinks that if we say to ourselves”everybody happy?!”, that everybody will be happy at the blink of an eye. Just like the ‘false sirens’ from employer’s organizations, like VNO/NCW and MKB Nederland

At the same time, the cabinet and the local governments are trying to “steal” our hard-earned money, by filling all financial potholes in their annual budget with tax money and by deploying higher traffic penalties, higher local taxes, higher parking expenses, higher VAT (i.e. value added tax) and higher taxes on insurances. And now they are trying to steal our pension money too.

In return, the cabinet still didn’t develop a master plan for:  
  • lower and higher education; 
  • the banking industry; 
  • the agricultural industry; 
  • the environmental industry; 
  • the Building and Construction industry; 
  • the ICT industry; 
  • the manufacturing industry
and all other industries that would benefit from a thorough ‘grand vision’ by this cabinet.

Unfortunately, this cabinet doesn’t have this grand vision… at all and rather kick all kinds of cans down every road that they see.

At least, they should have the decency to stay away from our pension money!

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