Billion Euro Fine

It seems that the Dutch government has painted itself in a corner. The parties involved are now back into all levels of talks to find a situation where a majority can be found that can live with the situation. This means that there is every chance that the 6 Billion Euro in cut backs will not be met. This means that an additional Billion Euro in fines will go to the Dutch treasury. So, is this a continuing level of evidence that the Dutch administration had been handing out funds it could not pay for in the end?

There is no excuse that can validly be used.

In the first degree, there is no excuse to use the economy or the recession. There are in my mind clear levels of visibility that there had been levels of ‘bad news management’. I had voiced my concerns on several occasions that the economy was nowhere near what was ‘predicted’ by the CBS. I was proven correct on more than one occasion and that whilst I have no advanced mathematics degree. It makes one wonder how those high priced calculators get to their numbers, doesn’t it?

When Germany started to tighten its belt from 2009 onwards, too many were on that horse of optimism where many stated that such rigorous cut backs were not needed. Now, four years later the cutbacks required are a lot more then would have been and that bill cannot be paid. On all sides minorities cry out that the cut backs on one side and/or tax increases on the other side are not proportional and that these actions will not benefit the economy.

I expect one more jolt of bad news and certain parties will stand up opening the retirement funds for the benefit of now. Which means that the economy will now need to rely on a jolt of ‘annexed funds’! Why am I stating this? I see these funds as the ownership of those now working. Whether you start or whether you are at the end of your working life. The funds of you and me are used to steer away from the actual issue of a parliament not able to control its spending. There are additional issues linked to this.

A Dutch blogsite called http://huizenmarkt.blog.nl from Juul Dijkhuis stated “De huizenprijzen zijn inderdaad kunstmatig hoog gehouden, maar mede hierdoor zijn de economische zorgen in Nederland ook kleiner dan bij de ons omringende landen. De gevolgen van een flinke daling kunnen namelijk groot zijn.

[translated]: The house prices are indeed kept high through artificial means, because of this the economic worries are not as high as those for the surrounding nations. The consequences of a sizeable reduction in value could be severe

This is just the first one I found and this statement does not stand alone in this matter. This article came from 2011, after the crash and in the timespan when bad news management (as I see it) was already in place. So consider the issue that the Dutch are not dealing with one issue on economy, but on additional issues in that same year we see SNS Reaal Property Finance, which is no longer here, was already dealing with minus a quarter of a billion for 2011. The Dutch site Calcasa (www.calcasa.nl), which is an independent technology firm, specialised in property value assessment reported in 2012 that in 2011 Dutch property value went down by 17 billion. As stated residential (-1.3%), offices (-1.9%), shops (-5.9%) en corporate spaces (-3.5%)
(At: http://www.calcasa.nl/nl/over-calcasa/nieuws/detail/kwartaalbericht-waarde-nederlands-vastgoed-met-17-miljard-afgenomen-in-2011/105).

So was this just another form of ‘bad news’ management? There is a lack of clarity here, yet consider that already in 2011 we see that different separate branches are trying to keep the good view, and from all indications the government did not intervene, did not (so it seems) openly correct the events. As stated, events that would have impacted the Dutch population in more than one way.

In support we see issues that are linked, but from another side altogether. If we look back to 2011 and if we look at the minister of Education, culture and Science, the honourable Mariëtte Bussemaker We see the following:

In de brief aan de Tweede Kamer «Meer dan kwaliteit: een nieuwe visie op cultuurbeleid» van 10 juni 2011 (Kamerstuk 32 820, nr. 1) wordt aangekondigd dat het kabinet wil onderzoeken of het mogelijk en wenselijk is het eigendom van de gebouwen van de rijksmusea aan deze instellingen over te dragen.

[Paraphrased] House document 32 820 nr 1, Parliament will investigate whether it is possible and desirable to transfer ownership of states museums could be transferred to the institutions that occupy them” This is fair enough, yet in that same document the next part gives us part of the light.

DTZ Zadelhoff heeft voor het vastgoed van de vier door Deloitte onderzochte Rijksmusea de taxatiewaarde onafhankelijk vastgesteld (waarde in het vrije economisch verkeer). Daaruit blijkt dat er een aanzienlijk verschil bestaat tussen de (hogere) boekwaarde van de vier musea op de balans van de Rgd enerzijds en de (lagere) marktwaarde van het vastgoed anderzijds (circa 25%). Dit verschil, dat voor een belangrijk deel kan worden verklaard door bewuste keuzes in het verleden voor maatschappelijke investeringen in een stabiele museale omgeving, kan zich openbaren wanneer er besloten wordt tot overdracht van het eigendom aan de Rijksmusea.

[Paraphrased] Zadelhoff has ascertained an independent value of four the investigated state museums by Deloitte. From there we found that there is a difference approaching 25% between the free economic value and the value in the books. The booked value is a lot higher than the actual market value. The difference, which can be explained through choices in the past of social inclined investments, could become visible when these properties are transferred.

So when we look at the links, then we see a government that is already visibly aware that there is, what I deem to be a surreal over valuation of properties. It could be that the values are actually a lot lower than what the books incline them to be. How far does this stretch? Because, if that is true and it had been known, then certain measure would have had to be taken long before July 2012. If actions were not made, then we see that the economy, linked to the value of a nation gives us a different percentage. So which additional levels of management are in play? (I actually do not know). But it seems to me that the more issues are linked, the more the evidence indicates that non-acts are beyond acceptable. Those parties now bickering over scraps to avoid hunger are either ignoring or not mentioning that the scraps will not make up for a meal to begin with. So instead of finding solutions, we witness debates (read bickering), where the result of the conversation will not be solution no matter how much a party gives in, which means that the only treasure left are the retirement funds, or more aptly put, the family silver!

That will result in the situation where all are left with less, whilst the political parties seem to remain in cycles of ‘bad news management’. When we look at the annual reports of some of these museums we see the text “De stichting beoordeelt op iedere balansdatum of er aanwijzingen zijn dat een De stichting beoordeelt op iedere balansdatum of er aanwijzingen zijn dat een vast actief aan een bijzondere waardevermindering onderhevig kan zijn.

[Paraphrased] the foundation decides on every balance date, whether indications exist that a fixed-asset is linked to a value decrease” so was it? From the parliamentary paper we saw mention that at least 4 have this issue. Was this indicated, or are we now dealing with a time zone issue where the moments of report and ‘enlightenment’ of value reduction seem to miss one another?”

Again, I actually do not know, yet we do not see too much information in this regard. So the active question of linked values are an issue not to ignore, especially if the value had gone too far down, the consequence is that cutting back 6 billion, an amount they are not able to manage now, would not have been enough. This is important to know, because there are two elements not illustrated. The Dutch government place its economy in the European rankings in the top 5 (I reckon it is within the top 10) (at http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/nieuws/2013/03/26/nederland-in-top-5-slimste-economieen-van-europa.html), in addition, the Dutch Newspaper ‘Trouw’ stated last February (at http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/4504/Economie/article/detail/3399005/2013/02/23/Triple-A-natie-Nederland-vergeleken-met-Groot-Brittannie-het-land-zonder-AAA.dhtml) that the Dutch economy is in a decent place, yet it also illustrates that the debt would rise until 2018, whilst at that point the UK debt would already be lowering. So why is this important?

Well, if this is about a percentage of the GDP, then the Dutch treasures, which includes its Gross investment and ‘net additions to capital assets’ plus ‘investments in inventories’. So, what happens then the net additions to Capital assets becomes an increasing negative number? Net fixed capital formation is linked to depreciation (and loss of value). It seems to me that if the net value of its treasures become increasingly large, then the mentioned 25% lowering would be disastrous. Especially when we see that investments toward these areas do nothing to increase net value that is linked to the GDP. The view is heavily coloured as the initial paper was only on 4 buildings, yet if we see and accept the levels of bad news management that has been in play, what else is intervening with the correct value of the GDP?

So as this (for now) is about the realistic upcoming 1.2 billion Euro additional fine the Dutch will face if they cannot keep their budget (at http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/4500/Politiek/article/detail/3516791/2013/09/26/Moet-Nederland-straks-echt-1-2-miljard-in-Brussel-afrekenen.dhtml), what other information is currently missing?

What if the Dutch need to face a revaluation of their GDP and of the elements of information that are now being ‘managed’, what will the consequence be of such a new valuation? Will the Dutch cutbacks be as severe, or worse in 2014?

What ‘managed’ information will people learn about after the retirement funds are drained?

The views I gave are important beyond the Dutch borders as well. It is a ‘sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander’ approach. From my point of view Dutch parliament is not evil, or corrupt, or criminal (there is a massive spot called grey area though). So, when these issues are detected with the Dutch, then it is important to know that others might be doing exactly the same, to some degree. The UK opposition system makes this situation unlikely but not impossible. The underlying similar dangers would then be coming from both France AND Italy (both in the economic top 5 and higher than the Netherlands). We all know that the waters of the Euro are murky. These matters might illustrate that they are also a lot less safe than we imagined them and if we accept that whatever happens in each of these nations hits all of them as it impacts the Euro, we could see this as a sign that the European economic troubles are far from over. When we have to take into account issues that were non-issues before, once this all comes out, how much damage will the Euro suffer?

 

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