This office also thinks that election programs can still be easily compared in these uncertain times. PBL researcher Hans Hilbers explains it on the basis of an example with wind directions and a boat. “The point is whether a party wants to go north or south. If it gradually turns out that the ferry to the north is taking longer, that does not detract from the fact that that party wants to go there.”
The PBL does take the corona crisis into account in its analysis, for example in the subject of aviation. As a standard, researchers assume a “constraining capacity at Schiphol”, while this is not the case at present. “If the airport is full or not, measures work out differently.” In such a case, both scenarios are therefore elaborated in the final report.
Economist Wimar Bolhuis of Leiden University gives yet another reason why election programs are also of value in this day and age and can be reliably calculated: they concern relatively small deviations from the baseline. The vast majority of public finances are more or less fixed: income tax, expenditure on all kinds of benefits and salaries.
So just because tens of billions more have been spent in recent months doesn’t mean plans could be impossible. “The ideas in those party programs amount to a total of several billion,” says Bolhuis, who has conducted research into calculations for election programs. “While the entire budget amounts to more than 300 billion.”
The feasibility and consequences of all plans are therefore almost unaffected by the corona crisis in terms of finances, the economist says. “All those relatively small things are still possible, and the consequences are also relatively easy to estimate.”
We will know at the beginning of March what the effect of all “little things” is. Then both planning agencies have finished their analysis / calculations. The elections for the Lower House are two weeks later.