“It is an undeniable reality that in today's network and information society people are both more assertive and more independent than in the past. This, combined with the need to reduce the budget deficit, means that the classical welfare state is slowly but surely evolving into a participation society. ... Achieving a 'prudent level of public debt' ... is and will remain crucial. ... If the debt grows and the interest rate rises, these payments will put more and more pressure on our economic growth, on the affordability of public services and on people's incomes. ... Unless we do something the budget deficit will remain too high. The shift towards a participation society is especially visible in our systems of social security and long-term care. In these areas in particular, the classical post-war welfare state produced schemes that are unsustainable in their present form and which no longer meet people's expectations.”
- Willem-Alexander, King of The Netherlands, speech from the Throne, 17 September 2013.If you think any of the programs or budget habits we have are sustainable, you are in a deep state of denial. We can fix them now and have a little pain, or fix them later and have a lot of pain.
Being that we won't have a new chief executive until 2017 and those priorities won't take effect until 2018 and won't impact things until 2019 and on, well ... there you go.