Dutch Socialists Critical of Welfare System

According to the Dutch Social-Democrats the welfare system in the Netherlands is too generous. The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA), which is the country’s main opposition party, says there can be no entitlements without obligations. “Welfare benefits have to be earned,” declared Mr. Han Noten, the leader of the PvdA group in the Dutch House of Representatives. He said that those on welfare have a “duty to society.” Noten wants to introduce a “concept of reciprocity.” He thinks that about one million people are capable of doing something in return, either by working or going to school. “Father is stern,” Noten told a PvdA meeting. Another PvdA politician, Ms. Jet Bussemaker declared that the welfare state has led to “an enormous bureaucratic mess.” She said that this bureaucracy is partly necessary, but leads to a situation where it is made impossible for people who are willing to work to do so.