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Lockdown, day 41.

From my home in Tiana, Spain.

Every evening at eight o’clock on the dot, we are startled by a bang. Then, instantly, everybody in the wide surroundings starts to applaud. The sounds carry on for minutes. You can hear it all around you. And we clap along, even if nobody will hear it.

In the whole of Spain people start applauding at eight o’clock in the evening. It is a way of saying thanks to the health care workers at the frontline. An appraisal for all the people risking their lives, exposing themselves to the virus while everybody else is staying home.

Of course, applauding is a beautiful thing. But wouldn’t it be better if we would turn our way of saying thanks into a financial one, not only now but in the future too? The health care givers are the ones who keep our society running, together with others who have vital jobs: police officers, teachers, cleaning people, cashiers, people stocking the shelves, men and women delivering groceries and meals. Let’s not forget about them when this crisis is over. They are indispensable, but at the bottom of the ladder in terms of salary.

“Less government, less government”. People (among them Trump) have been saying this all around, also in The Netherlands. Now that the corona crisis is putting pressure on our economy, numerous companies are facing bankruptcy, freelancers are without jobs and people are getting fired, a tremendous amount of financial support is asked from the Dutch government.

It is clear: we need a strong and rightminded government to tackle crises but also to equally divide resources. I am not an economic, I don’t know it all, but I wonder in all humility:

Now that the economy sees its foundations shaking, isn’t it time to raise taxation? Isn’t it time for the international companies making profit in the Netherlands to finally start paying taxes?

Then, we could start paying all those care givers and all those with vital jobs the salary they deserve. And while we’re at it, we could even stop taking money from other countries and put an end to this Dutch tax haven once and for all.


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