Introducing basic benefits for everyone would save a lot of bureaucracy. And there are more good arguments.
In principle, nobody has to starve to death in the Netherlands. Workers pay taxes to help people who are unable to work for whatever reason - due to illness, old age or lack of work, for example - to receive an income.
Over the years, this system has evolved into an extremely complex system implemented by multiple ministries and governments, so complex that it takes years of study to understand all the finer points.
Social security is monstrously complicated
A small selection: we know WW, WAO (now: WIA), WaJong, sickness benefit, IOAW, AOW, ANW, AWW, redundancy pay, social assistance, student finance and a number of more. For each type of benefit, a specially trained body of civil servants is available to decide whether these benefits are properly paid. Special inspectors examine benefit recipients to see whether they are complying with the conditions, not earning extra extra, owning more than is allowed and the like.
False thinking behind social security: solidarity with the rich and 'pitifulness'
This system is based on two serious fallacies. These are the direct cause of the problems that continuously occur.
The main fallacy is the curious interpretation of the concept of solidarity. The Unemployment Insurance Act, WW, is a compulsory unemployment insurance (or tax) whereby, in exchange for a premium, the employee is insured against loss of income due to unemployment. The more the employee earned, the more unemployment benefits they receive. If solidarity is so important, why is the unemployment benefit or disability benefit of a high-paid employee much higher than that of a low-paid employee?
The second fallacy is to assume the degree of pitifulness instead of what is the best solution for that person and society. People entitled to social assistance without a cent are pathetic, so they receive social assistance benefits. If someone with a low wage has been so stupid as not to use up his wages immediately with an expensive holiday, for example, but to save it and he is fired, then after a few months of unemployment benefit he will first have to 'eat' his savings. The amount of savings and other assets that a single social assistance recipient is allowed to have is approximately € 5,400. Anything above that must be 'eaten' first. The result: an extra call on all kinds of pots because the person entitled to social assistance does not have enough money to, for example, replace broken equipment or pay bills.
A basic salary: the benefits
Every person has the right to a dignified existence, is stated in the universal treaty of human rights. Without income or support in kind, there is no dignified existence. Something like social assistance benefit is therefore logical. It is less logical to punish thrift, which is the case with the current system.
The introduction of a basic wage will put an end to the huge mess of benefits. Every Dutch person who lives in the Netherlands and is older than eighteen receives a basic benefit of, for example, five hundred euros. Workers receive an employment bonus of two hundred euros. The child benefit is replaced by a tax deduction equal to the child benefit. Medical aids for the seriously ill will be free. A fixed flat tax of, for example, forty percent must then be paid on all income. So one tax bracket. All deductions are abolished. Students have to pay their own tuition fees, but receive a much higher tuition allowance.
Students who want to live at home get as much as those who want to live on a stand. No room shortage.
On the other hand, everyone can earn as much as they want, as long as he or she pays tax on it. This will actually significantly lower the minimum wage, which will create a lot of new jobs. Even someone who earns zero euros per hour, extremely unlikely, will still be left with six hundred euros net. In practice, there will be so much competition between employers that wages will be comparable to today.
Much fewer officials needed
Administration can be much simpler in this way. The social insurance bank SVB, which now provides the AOWs, can easily transfer these benefits without additional staff. The other benefits agencies such as UWV (16,000 employees), social services (a comparable number) and the like can all be discontinued.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment can also be considerably smaller. The simplified tax system also saves many civil servants, with an estimated total of 100,000 civil servants involved in all aspects of social affairs and related policies. The salary costs of this are high: about 2 billion per year, one hundred euros per Dutch person.
Costs: 78 billion per year, yield: at least 120 billion
The costs are quite easy to calculate. Today there are about thirteen million people over eighteen. This means 78 billion euros in benefits and tax credits per year. Everything that is paid out in terms of unemployment benefits, student finance, AOW and the like, as well as all tax deductions, can be canceled out. This plus the lower salary costs for civil servants.
From oppression to open opportunities
Right now, the social insurance system revolves around control and repression. There must be sufficient sadness, otherwise no benefit will be paid. This has a devastating effect on the self-confidence of people on benefits.
If this is replaced by an amount that everyone is entitled to on the basis of the fact that they are human, there will be room for starting entrepreneurs who are supported during the period without income, for artists, for volunteers and for people with a craft business where a marginal income can be derived from.