Die Schulden und der Niedergang Amerikas

MAILAND: Die Italiener und die übrigen Europäer haben selbst ernste Probleme, ihre öffentlichen und privaten Schulden in Angriff zu nehmen; insofern mag es vermessen erscheinen, wenn ein Europäer Amerikas gravierendes und weiter wachsendes Schuldenproblem diskutiert. Doch ähneln sich die fiskalischen Gegebenheiten beiderseits des Atlantiks heute sehr, und nur das nachhallende Vertrauen in das Versprechen Amerikas erhält die Erwartungen mancher Europäer am Leben, dass irgendein grandioser amerikanischer coup de théâtrediedüstere Schuldenlage des Landes beheben wird.

Natürlich ist vielen Amerikanern das Ausmaß der Schulden bewusst, die auf ihrem Land lasten. Admiral Mike Mullen, Vorsitzender des Generalstabes und damit Amerikas ranghöchster Militär, erklärte kürzlich: „Die größte Gefahr für Amerikas Sicherheit geht von der Staatsschuld aus.“ Vier von zehn Amerikanern stimmen ihm zu; weniger als drei von zehn halten den Terrorismus oder den Iran für gefährlicher.

Amerikas Großmachtstatus war immer an das Maß seiner Staatsschuld geknüpft. Tatsächlich war es das Fehlen von Schulden, das zwischen 1914 und 1917 den Aufstieg der USA zur Weltmacht markierte. Die Vereinigten Staaten entwickelten sich von einem Land, das mit drei Milliarden Dollar verschuldet war (überwiegend gegenüber Großbritannien), zum Nettogläubiger in etwa selber Höhe – dank etwa sechs Milliarden Dollar an Kriegskrediten, die sie den Westalliierten gaben. Weitere drei Milliarden Dollar an Wiederaufbaukrediten zementierten nach dem Krieg Amerikas Status als führende Gläubigernation der Welt; das Land wies damals einen Überschuss von rund 8% vom BIP auf.

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