Jan Maarten Slagter: Vote for the Capital Party!

The Netherlands has a broad political spectrum, ranging from the Pirate Party to the Animal Welfare Party, but one theme is missing, writes Jan Maarten Slagter.

On the 12th of September Dutch nationals will be making their way to the voting booths. We will be able to choose from around twenty parties, half of which will gain at least one seat. The Dutch political spectrum is a broad one, ranging as it does from the Pirate Party to the Animal Welfare Party. Every creed or special interest group has its own candidates.
Or does it? There is one group that hasn’t formed a political party yet – a large group, consisting of millions of people. We do, for the moment at least, have a Labour Party but as yet we haven’t a Capital Party. Investors have their own organisation (and we’re here to serve you!) but no party to represent them in parliament.
There are still a few days left in which to register such a party. Should you consider to do so (I will make you a present of the name) the electoral programme (written on the back of a beermat as it should be) could look something like this:
1. A dynamic, growing economy is in everyone’s interest. This means that entrepreneurs should be able to access venture capital as cheaply as possible. Taxes and rules to prevent this hold back the economy and should be applied sparingly.
2. More often than not, the tax on capital assets is a diminishing assets tax. It needs to be changed. The 4% yield is a fictional one and needs to be replaced by the real yield or a benchmark yield, for instance the progressive average of Dutch 10-year bonds.
3. The transaction tax should be scrapped. This kind of tax ‘punishes’ the securities market, lessens liquidity and hikes the capital costs of entrepreneurs. The cost will end up with the end users of the financial product and is not an effective means to combat undesirable behaviour of professional market parties.
4. Shareholders should be able to make their voices heard in an effective way by the companies they are investing in. That means ‘one share, one vote’, an end to preference shares and protective constructions and no increase to the 1% representation threshold.
A word to the wise: any party wishing to attack the Capital party before it has even been launched is welcome to include the above points in their own party manifestos.
Jan Maarten Slagter is director of the Dutch investors’ association Vereninging van Effectenbezitters

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