It would be extremely welcome if finance minister Wouter Bos would stop dithering and actually decide what, if anything, he is going to do about ‘scandalously high levels’ of executive pay.
The reactions to yesterday’s Frijns committee report were totally predictable. The unions and left-wing parties say the report should be shredded while the business lobby think self-regulation is the only way to go.
Bos can either intervene by law to stop companies paying their boardroom staff as much as they like – not very likely considering this is a free market economy – or he can increase taxes.
Any talk of upping taxes inevitably gathers the wrath of the pro-business lobby which says it will damage the Dutch investment climate.
Of course companies always want to pay as little tax as possible and will bleat at any hint that they might have to pay more. And they will always come up with some tax dodge or another to make sure the lucky few still get their millions.
Perhaps it might be a better use of his brains if Bos turned his attention to those at the bottom of the pile.
According to the government’s own poverty monitor out earlier this week, nearly 200,000 children in the Netherlands are officially living in poverty. In a wealthy country like the Netherlands, that really is a scandal.
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