Amerikas Kartenhaus

Es gibt Zeiten, in denen Recht zu haben keine Freude bringt. Mehrere Jahre lang habe ich argumentiert, dass die US-Wirtschaft durch eine Spekulationsblase auf dem Häusermarkt gestützt würde, die anstelle der Börsenblase der 1990er Jahre getreten sei. Doch keine Blase kann sich endlos ausweiten. Angesichts stagnierender Einkommen in der amerikanischen Mittelschicht konnten sich die Amerikaner immer teurere Häuser nicht leisten.

Wie hat es doch einer meiner Vorgänger im Amte des Vorsitzenden der Wirtschaftsberater des US-Präsidenten so glänzend ausgedrückt: „Was nicht aufrecht zu erhalten ist, wird nicht aufrecht erhalten.“ Anders als jene, die ihren Lebensunterhalt mit Börsenspekulationen bestreiten, behaupten Ökonomen nicht, den Tag der Abrechnung voraussagen zu können – und noch viel weniger das Ereignis, das das Kartenhaus letztlich zum Einsturz bringen wird. Doch die Muster haben System, mit Konsequenzen, die sich im Laufe der Zeit allmählich und auf schmerzhafte Weise entfalten.

Man muss dabei zwischen einer Makrostory und einer Mikrostory unterscheiden. Die Makrostory ist einfach, aber dramatisch. Einige Beobachter des Zusammenbruchs des Marktes mit schlecht besicherten Hypotheken sagen: „Keine Angst, das ist bloß ein Problem auf dem Immobiliensektor.“ Aber dabei übersehen sie die zentrale Rolle, die der Wohnungssektor in der jüngsten Zeit für die US-Wirtschaft gespielt hat, wo während der vergangenen sechs Jahre zwei Drittel bis drei Viertel des Wirtschaftswachstums auf Direktinvestitionen in Immobilien und durch Umschuldung von Hypothekendarlehen freigesetzte Gelder entfielen.

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