The election campaigns are heating up and that means that the parties are going to bombard the electorate with all kinds of prospects and promises – regardless of their practical feasibility. Sebastien Valkenberg wonders which party dares to disappoint the voter in advance.
Politicians already have a tendency to make grand plans. Expect them to go a step further on that. The election campaigns are gaining steam and that means: prospects ranging from ambitious to hyper-ambitious.
Of course it goes that way. In the run-up to November 22, when the polls open, parties are showing their best side. The voter must be seduced and you do that with recruiting programs. The risk is that they go too far and create unrealistic expectations.
Policy and its implementation – theory and practice – have been at odds in recent years. The temptation of the drawing board turned out to be great.
Finally solving inequality
Earlier this summer, Tim ‘S Jongers, the enthusiastic director of the Wiardi Beckman Foundation (PvdA), committed himself to Fidelity angry about the number of homeless people. He called on policymakers to finally solve inequality. “The next phase is no longer about having or being able to do it, but about wanting to.”
As if this issue only persisted because of unwilling administrators. It is difficult for the do-gooder to imagine that a problem is so tough that it cannot be solved easily, perhaps not at all.
Fixated on the right intentions, he ignores the warnings from the Tax Authorities, the Social Insurance Bank and the UWV: Help, we are stuck in the implementation .
Benefits scandal very expensive
The example is the benefits scandal, which just won’t go away. It was known that compensation for the victims is slow. Now it turns out that it is also becoming very expensive. 7.1 billion euros according to a recent estimate NRC . To note dryly: ‘The recovery operation is now starting to show signs of the benefits affair itself.’
This is how one failure leads to another. And don’t forget that the benefits affair was the result of a previous affair. Bulgarians committed fraud with rent and health care benefits, which were paid out very easily, prompting the Chamber to demand tighter control over payment. And got.
Roughly two reactions are possible to this series of mistakes. One: shame and enforce additional policies.
So go: add some money
If policy has failed, resources are insufficient, so go ahead: add money and even more staff. That’s how it went recently. Last year, the number of government officials increased by 5.5 percent. Meanwhile, their productivity fell by 9 percent. Continuing on this route is disastrous.
Therefore, option two: recognize that the well-intentioned policy itself becomes problematic. “We have made it increasingly refined and detailed,” Arno Visser warned upon his retirement as president of the Court of Audit. “More complicated. You have to put an end to that.”
And not just because the money has run out, meaning additional staff is not possible for the time being; also to dampen social dissatisfaction.
For a moment, politicians seem to spoil citizens with promises of big, bigger, biggest. Until it turns out that they are drowning in impossible policies. Then the disappointment is even greater.
It would be refreshing if politicians showed restraint during the campaign. Let them, in a nice contradiction, also say what they will not do if they are elected. Who dares to be a party of small promises?
Sebastien Valkenberg is a cultural philosopher