Dienstag, 11. Februar 2014

Wirtschaftspolitik im langsamen Aufschwung

Mark Thoma bietet ein paar Rezepte an.
"Though the recovery from the recession has been very slow, things will eventually get better. As the economy improves and interest rates begin to increase, then we will need to start worrying about the debt’s role in pushing interest rates up. At that time, we can begin to figure out how to use spending cuts and tax increases to offset any problems that can be traced to the national debt. Thus, we need patience, lots of it, during slow recoveries. Cutting spending too soon – as we have done – makes a slow recovery even slower. [...]

If we cannot be patient, and if fears of the national debt persist despite the fact that interest rates show no sign of increasing – if politics rather than economics forces our hand and something must be done – then we ought to do our best to reduce the deficit without slowing the economy and employment at the same time. A good way to do this is to reduce the deficit through taxes on the wealthy rather than cutting back on stimulus measures. The increase in taxes will be mostly paid by reducing savings rather than consumption, and since there is already an excess of saving – that’s why interest rates are so low – the effects on the economy should be small. [...]

In normal times, high rates of inflation can be harmful and the Fed is right to avoid this outcome. But when the economy is in a severe recession and interest rates are as low as they can go – when we are stuck at the “zero lower bound” and inflation is running below the Fed’s target – the situation is different. In this case, expected or actual inflation can help by reducing real interest rates, lowering nominal debt burdens for business and households, increasing stock market values, and promoting exports by lowering the exchange rate. Thus, in severe recessions paying for government spending by printing money, i.e. debt monetization, is an option that can avoid increased government debt. [...] 

Finally, the most important thing to realize is that the stimulus measures implemented during the recession are not the source of our worries about the debt. The long run debt problem is due to health care costs, not spending to fight recessions."
Den drittletzten Punkt sehe ich genauso, obwohl als Gegenargument bestimmt wieder kommt, dass einmal erhöhte Steuern nie wieder gesenkt werden ... obwohl die Historie zeigt, dass das nicht stimmt. 

Beim vorletzten Punkt bin ich--obwohl ich sehe, dass höhere Inflation derzeit viele Probleme lösen würde--skeptisch, ob sich dies realisieren lässt ohne die langfristige Glaubwürdigkeit der Zentralbanken zu beschädigen. Denn was ist ein Inflationsziel wert, das sich ständig bewegt?

Der letzte Punkt ist für die USA und auch für andere Länder (wie Deutschland), die sich derzeit günstig finanzieren können und keine großen aktuellen strukturellen Budgetdefizite haben, richtig.

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