September 21, 2011

Highwayman Donner

Something hilarious just transpired in Dutch politics. Earlier this month on the 9th of September the Supreme Court in the Netherlands decided that upon requesting an ID card, which is done at the local town hall normally, no fee can be asked. The essence of the verdict by the court was that an ID card should be free of charge for every citizen and current legislation doesn't justify paying for it, yet it is normal practice that a town generates revenue with issuing passports, documents etc.

The court even decided that people who had paid for a card the last few months should get their money back. Needless to say that many people hurried to the town hall to request a new ID card. City officials got swamped with work.

Enter minister Piet Hein Donner from the Christian Democrat party (CDA). Just a few weeks have passed since this new approach was put in effect, the good Christian minister just forwarded a new bill today basically reinstating the previous arrangement and where people have to pay (generously) for their new ID cards. Just comical how money takes precedence in the political process seeing how fast these highwaymen, I mean politicians, react when it becomes impossible to rob the citizens of their cash.
Tax decreases 'have to be studied' but new tax legislation can be implemented with light speed so it seems. Donner also slaps the Supreme Court in the face by basically countermanding/overruling their decision. When legislation is quickly changed to suit the profit motive, you can ask yourself what democracy really means.

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