Dienstag, 23. Dezember 2008

Geld- oder Fiskalpolitik?

Während in Österreich der Mainstream der Ökonomen sich damit abgefunden zu haben scheint, dass nur mehr Fiskalpolitik helfen kann und die Politik davon überzeugt ist, ist die Diskussion in den USA derzeit interessanter. Ist die Geldpolitik noch immer first choice, selbst wenn das Zinsniveau bei 0% liegt? Frederic Mishkin, Greg Mankiw und Robert Lucas sagen ja. Lucas lobt Bernanke:
The Fed can satisfy the demand for quality by using reserves -- or "printing money" -- to buy securities other than Treasury bills. This is the way the $600 billion got out into the private sector. (...) The Fed is lending on terms that private banks are not willing to offer. Their mission is to provide liquidity to the system by acting as lender-of-last-resort. We don't care about the quality of the assets the Fed acquires in doing this. We care about the quantity of its liabilities.
(...) monetary policy as Mr. Bernanke implements it has been the most helpful counter-recession action taken to date, in my opinion, and it will continue to have many advantages in future months. It is fast and flexible. There is no other way that so much cash could have been put into the system as fast as this $600 billion was, and if necessary it can be taken out just as quickly. The cash comes in the form of loans. It entails no new government enterprises, no government equity positions in private enterprises, no price fixing or other controls on the operation of individual businesses, and no government role in the allocation of capital across different activities. These seem to me important virtues.
Mark Thoma meint daraufhin:
There's a reason they used to be called "monetarists". If we wait to see if monetary policy does, in fact, work as advertised and we find out that it doesn't, it will be too late to implement effective fiscal policy. So yes, by all means use monetary policy to the best of our ability, but let's not forget about fiscal policy. If monetary policy is as fast and flexible as claimed, then it can always be reversed in the event that fiscal policy kicks in with more force than expected.
Mankiw dagegen spricht sich explizit gegen eine interventionistische Fiskalpolitik aus:
If the government spends a fiscal stimulus package on goods and services without much public value, it could well stimulate the economy as measured by macroeconomic aggregates but leave the participants in the economy worse off. Avoiding this trap requires that the government spend taxpayers dollars only those items that pass a strict cost-benefit test. That is hard to do quickly. Willy-nilly spending is a good way to stimulate the economy only if the outcome is judged by the wrong metric.
Auf der anderen Seite kontert Krugman:
When we’re asking whether it’s better to have the government stimulate the economy or to try to stimulate private spending, we’re asking among other things whether a marginal dollar spent on public goods is worth more or less than a marginal dollar spent on private consumption. And there’s nothing, even in Econ 101, that clearly favors private spending on private goods over public spending on public goods.
In other words, the attempt to claim the authority of economics for the idea that stimulus in the form of tax cuts is better, at a microeconomic level, than stimulus in the form of infrastructure spending is a case of bait and switch. Don’t fall for it.
Rouge Economist Rants stellt die Frage "Can there be a private sector solution to the creation of demand in a crisis?":
Right now, no one wants to move first in injecting needed cash to the economy, for fear that nobody else will follow. Could the private sector solution involve local companies engaging in quasi-barter trade with each other? Or paying via in-kind currencies? For example, we can have businesses paying employees via credits that can be used by consumers to buy/pay for services of other local producers. So in essence, in an economic downturn where actual cash flow is scarce, demand is created by empowering cash-starved businesses to pay employees and suppliers in some 'credit principle' that other businesses will then consider acceptable form of payment.
By far, the simpler solution seems to be the government solution. Unfortunately, not a solution for countries low on reserves
Notwendige Infrastrukturprojekte mit hohem Wert sollten vorgezogen werden. Temporäre, außerordentliche Subventionen und Steuersenkungen mögen auch sinnvoll sein. Allerdings sind permanente Maßnahmen wie Vorziehungen von Steuerreformen und strukturpolitische Maßnahmen in der Familienpolitik gefährlich. Denn die Geschenke sind Geschenke von Steuerzahlern an Steuerzahler, also Umverteilung, die letztlich wieder von Steuerzahlern bezahlt werden muss. Die schwächsten Staaten in der derzeitigen Situation sind jene die kaum Spielraum haben offensiv zu reagieren, weil das Bedienen der Staatsschulden kaum Maneuvriermasse für fiskalische Abenteuer bietet. Ein stark verschuldeter Staat ist ein schwacher Staat. In der derzeitigen Krise ist expansive Fiskalpolitik notwendig, um die Erwartungen und somit das Wirtschaftssystem zu stabilisieren. Allerdings wird ein Sparpaket in guten Zeiten ebenso notwendig sein. Wir werden uns 2011/12/13 daran erinnern.

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