Sparpolitik damals und heute

PRINCETON – Die unlängst von Schatzkanzler George Osborne angekündigte Politik der Haushaltskonsolidierung in Großbritannien schickte eine Schockwelle um den Globus. Osborne erklärte, Großbritannien stünde am Abgrund: Es gäbe keine Alternative zu seiner Politik, wenn das Land eine massive Vertrauenskrise verhindern wolle.

Andere Länder wie etwa Griechenland mussten erst eine ausgewachsene Krise erleben, um solche Anpassungsmaßnahmen zu veranlassen, Großbritannien hingegen handele umsichtig und vorbeugend. Wenn Großbritannien mit einem relativ geringen öffentlichen Schuldenstand im Verhältnis zum BIP (64,6%) besorgt ist, kann man daraus schließen, dass viele andere Länder wesentlich beunruhigter sein sollten.

Allerdings rufen einschneidende Bemühungen zur Haushaltskonsolidierung sofort Erinnerungen an die Große Depression wach. Andrew Mellon, der damalige Finanzminister der Vereinigten Staaten, empfahl Arbeitsplätze, Landwirtschaft, Wertpapiere und Immobilien zu liquidieren, um „die Fäulnis aus dem System zu waschen“. Sein britisches Gegenüber zu dieser Zeit, Philip Snowden, ein kleiner Mann mit einem schmalen, verkniffenen Gesicht, der auf einen Gehstock angewiesen war, schien den Zustand der britischen Volkswirtschaft in seiner körperlichen Haltung widerspiegeln zu wollen.

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