Always wanted to become Minister of Finance?Seven arguments not to do it

Always wanted to become Minister of Finance?Seven arguments not to do it

Warning! In the formation of the new cabinet it will be, as they call it in The Hague: ‘doll’ time. Who will be minister? Who stays? Who will get a position elsewhere? If you are interested in or asked to be the Minister of Finance… Say no.

Why? Here are the seven arguments.

An. You will be dealing with the Allowances affair for years to come. You can delegate the handling to a state secretary, but it is your ministry. The tragedy of failure destroys the atmosphere internally.

Two. You lose power. The European Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), which sets limits on government debt and budget deficits, is passé. It is no longer complied with due to the fight against the corona pandemic. If the SGP returns, the fiscal reins will remain looser.

Three. Internally and externally, these loose rules undermine your position as a frugal accountant. Internally, in the cabinet, versus ministers with extra expenditure (public health, education). External to the voters. Frugal finance ministers were popular. And now? A voter in the next election? Become the biggest party? Forget it.

Also read this opinion article: KLM has no future in its current form

Four. You lose even more influence because climate policy has priority. The new macher (m/f) in the cabinet is the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate. It sets the stage for decades. You not. You follow.

Five. The new Minister of Finance may just turn out to be the bogeyman of thousands of catering, retail, culture and tourism entrepreneurs who are (or will be) grounded by the pandemic. The business community has been granted tax deferrals for an amount of up to 22 billion euros. You never get it right. If you cancel the debt, companies that have paid properly will complain. If you don’t cancel debt and companies go bankrupt, you are the hard-hearted miser.

Six. As a major shareholder of two banks (ABN Amro and Volksbank) and of NS, you are faced with a strategic puzzle of billions. What should the government do with two banks? Will NS survive the shrinkage of the company now that foreign transport (Germany, United Kingdom) is partly disappearing?

Seven. As a shareholder of Schiphol, Air France-KLM and KLM, you have an existential problem. Schiphol and KLM form the aviation-industrial complex: very powerful for a long time. Because they offered economic growth and jobs. But now? Air France-KLM and KLM are burdened with debt. The state keeps them afloat while corona takes its toll and ‘sustainable aviation’ has yet to be invented. KLM is closely associated with Schiphol, a state-owned company. According to the government, Schiphol is crucial to promoting the Netherlands as a head office country.

At the beginning of 2019, Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra (CDA) bought about 14 percent of the shares of Air France-KLM on the stock exchange. This should give the Netherlands an extra strong position in the company, because ‘we’ would then have as many shares as the French state. That turned out to be a miscalculation when the airline sold additional shares earlier this year. The French bought it, the Netherlands did not. The current position: France owns almost 29 percent, the Netherlands over 9 percent. The Netherlands put on big trousers and stumbled.

People sometimes complain about (top) managers: their failed decisions only become clear when they are gone. Then their successor can clean up the mess.

That is why Hoekstra is the ideal candidate for Finance. Let him finish his job. What was his election slogan at the last election? Now pack on.

Menno Tamminga writes here every Tuesday about corporate policy and economics.

A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of December 7, 2021

Always wanted to become Minister of Finance?Seven arguments not to do it
Source link Always wanted to become Minister of Finance?Seven arguments not to do it

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