Monday, 21 July 2008

1.3 million working age Dutch live from social security

In the news today: 1.3 million Dutch between the ages of 18 and 65 don't work, but get their income from social security. This is down from 1.6 million in 2004. In addition, some 2.7 million people are older than 65 and also get a basic income (about € 940 per month) from the state. To compare: there are 7.3 million Dutch with jobs. So basically every 2.5 Dutch worker is also paying for one other person.
The popular press is of course the voice for those who believe that all those "lazy bastards" should be kicked into a job. While it is undoubtedly true that there are abusers of the system, the rules have been tightened and if you are just lazy and can work, they will try to get you a job. And the system works very well for people like OS who has been too sick to work and hence is entitled to a decent benefit payment every month. I can't say I like to pay the high taxes here, but looking at the benefits I wouldn't want to change our system for a more purely capitalist system without a social safety net.

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