Brooklyn development Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Trumps virtuelle Mauer

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: Der Plan der Republikaner, in den USA eine „Grenzsteuer“ einzuführen, ist in vieler Hinsicht die virtuelle Ergänzung der physischen Mauer, die Präsident Donald Trump entlang der US-Grenze nach Mexiko errichten will. Auch wenn die Grenzsteuer nicht annähernd so stark den Weg in das öffentliche Bewusstsein gefunden hat wie Trumps physische Mauer, könnte sie sich auf den Durchschnittsamerikaner letztlich sehr viel stärker auswirken – und nicht unbedingt zum Positiven.

Oberflächlich betrachtet besteht die Grundidee darin, Importe mit einer Steuer von sagen wir 20% zu belasten und für Exporte Steuererleichterungen in ähnlicher Höhe zu gewähren. Die spontane Reaktion der meisten Populisten ist, dass dies für die Beschäftigung in den USA fantastisch sein müsse, weil es vor Importen abschreckt und Exporte fördert. Leider hat diese Logik, wie schon des Öfteren angemerkt, einen Schönheitsfehler: Die USA haben einen flexiblen Wechselkurs.

Ein stärkerer Dollar – ein voraussichtliches Ergebnis einer Grenzsteuer – macht den Kauf von Importen für die Amerikaner billiger (weil man dann für einen Dollar mehr Devisen erhält); andersherum verteuert ein stärkerer Dollar die US-Exporte für Ausländer. Tatsächlich wäre das von den Lehrbüchern vorhergesagte Ergebnis, dass der Wechselkurseffekt die Steuer vollständig ausgleichen würde, wodurch die Handelsbilanz unverändert bliebe. Wer glaubt, dass der Vorschlag der Republikaner nach Hokuspokus klingt, könnte also Recht haben – aber lassen Sie uns diesen Gedanken noch etwas zurückstellen.

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