The Netherlands’ Strong Economy

In some informal discussions with people, I’ve heard folks assume that Geer Wilders’ rising popularity is due to the severity of the economic downturn in Europe. It’s worth noting that the economic situation in the Netherlands is actually quite mild (see lots of data here) in terms of the labor market:

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And the relatively strong labor market has meant that the budgetary situation in the Netherlands hasn’t deteriorated to nearly the extent that you see in most developed countries. In part that reflects good Dutch fundamentals, but it’s also a lesson about the importance of forceful countercyclical policy. Your budget stays in much better shape if you do what it takes to keep people employed than if you go down a cycle of recession and slow growth.