In times of crisis you should not cut back, but invest.
And you should certainly not look too tightly at government finances, says economist Bas Jacobs.
During the previous crisis, the then cabinet did, but the budgetary orthodoxy that had gripped the Netherlands for years had already been let go and that is now visible to everyone.
"Public finances were seen as the biggest problem during the previous crisis. But they were not the cause, but a symptom," Jacobs professor of economics and public finances of the Erasmus School of Economics said Wednesday in response to the plans presented on Budget Day.
At the time, the cabinet thought that worse could be prevented if public finances were put in order.
Jacobs, however, speaks of a "misdiagnosis".
"Had it not been for such rigorous cutbacks and increased taxes, we would have been in a much better position."
According to the professor, the frenetic focus of politics on public finances had already been released in the previous elections.
"In the election manifestos of 2017 it was already clear that politicians were loosening the reins."
According to Jacobs, this has hardly been picked up in public opinion.
"When a crisis ends, the interest in public finances is apparently gone."
The growth fund is 'money in search of a destination'
Now that we are in a new crisis, attention is again being paid to it.
The cabinet clearly states that the pockets are deep enough and that it is now no problem to increase the budget deficit and national debt by investing and lowering taxes.
"That is good economic policy. Especially for investing now that interest rates are so low."
The professor is not a fan of the National Growth Fund that the cabinet has set up.
"Then you create money that goes in search of a destination. The government could have invested 20 billion euros directly in infrastructure, education, innovation and the climate transition. This urgency is undiminished."
The laws of Keynes also continue to apply in a second wave
According to Jacobs, the cabinet is not doing well in that area.
But he and, according to him, most of his fellow economists also support the current policy.
It does disturb him that in public opinion the focus is once again on public finances with phrases such as "leaving the bill with the next generations".
Jacobs: "The affordability of the national debt is no problem at all. Under unchanged policy, the budget deficit will decrease to 1.7 percent of GDP in 2025. At the current low interest rates and normal economic growth in the long term, the public debt will be around 60 percent of GDP. Exactly what was agreed in the Maastricht Treaty. "
Of course Jacobs also notes that there should not be a second wave, because then public finances will deteriorate.
But even then, according to him, the economic laws of John Maynard Keynes continue to apply.
"Even then, the government should not slow down."