Das fiskalische Nadelöhr

PALO ALTO: Wahlen werden häufig durch den Zustand der Wirtschaft entschieden, besonders wenn die Zeiten hart sind. Geht das Wachstum zurück und die Arbeitslosigkeit steigt, werfen die Wähler die Amtsinhaber raus – ob nun die Linken in Spanien, die Rechten in Frankreich oder die Parteien der Mitte in den Niederlanden. Die USA machen in dieser Hinsicht keinen Unterschied. Nach drei Jahren Großer Depression wurde Herbert Hoover von Franklin D. Roosevelt bei den Wahlen vernichtend geschlagen. Im Jahre 1980 drängte Ronald Reagan nach einer Phase anhaltender Stagflation Jimmy Carter aus dem Weißen Haus.

Zugleich ist die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung zu einem wesentlichen Ausmaß von der Wirtschaftspolitik abhängig. Die Große Depression wurde durch eine schlechte Geldpolitik, Steuererhöhungen und eine protektionistische Handelspolitik verschärft. In ähnlicher Weise bereitete die lockere Geldpolitik der USA des letzten Jahrzehnts der Großen Rezession den Boden, denn sie trug wesentlich zur explosionsartigen Steigerung der Kreditaufnahme bei und heizte die Immobilienblase an, die dann 2007-2008 platzte.

Der Ausgang zweier miteinander verknüpfter Kämpfe um die richtige politische Richtung wird für die wirtschaftlichen und politischen Aussichten sowohl in den USA als auch in Europa entscheidend sein. Der erste ist der Kampf zwischen „Austerität“ und „Wachstum“ – d.h. kurzfristigem Defizitabbau und zusätzlichen steuerpolitischen Konjunkturimpulsen. Viele Linke auf beiden Seiten des Atlantiks argumentieren, dass mehr und nicht weniger Staatsausgaben erforderlich sind, um ihre Volkswirtschaften aus der Rezession zu holen. Die Rechten glauben, dass die Spitzenpriorität der Regierungen die Haushaltskonsolidierung sein sollte.

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