Ist In­flation doch keine Lö­sung für die Schul­den?

Das wäre doch traurig: „Once upon a time, governments could count on resurgent inflation to defeat crushing levels of debt; it was default in all but name, but it was less painful than the real thing. Sadly, it can no longer be relied upon.“ – bto: Doch ist das wirklich so?

  • As it is, we may already have seen the peak in the current inflationary spike. Both the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the Bank of England expect CPI inflation to be falling sharply by the middle of next year, and the OBR for it to fall below zero from mid-2024.“ – bto: Das ist vermutlich auch der Fall in den USA und der Eurozone.
  • There is, however, a lingering suspicion – both in markets and among the public at large – that inflation won’t return to target for some years, or will at least require significantly higher interest rates to achieve the desired result. Heightened domestic wage demands in combination with still globally persistent inflationary pressures make the task of entirely eradicating above-target inflation exceptionally challenging.“ – bto: Das war auch die Kernaussage von Prof. Sinn im Gespräch mit mir vor einigen Tagen.
  • There is moreover, a suspicion – supported by historical experience – that the Government actually likes it that way, if only because the easiest way of dealing with a large debt overhang is simply to inflate it away. That’s how it’s always been done before, and there is some reason to believe that’s the unspoken agenda this time too.“ – bto: Und dieses Mal sind auch viele im Privatsektor über eine Entwertung durch Inflation froh. Eine große Allianz – im Euro ohnehin.
  • „If you think debt matters, something must be done to bring it back to more sustainable levels. Inflation and growth have historically been the cure. If this is indeed the plan today, it already seems to be working. Interest rates are a good deal higher than they were, but after taking account of inflation, they have rarely been so deep in negative territory. Do the maths; at the last count, UK CPI inflation was 11.1pc, yet Bank Rate is still just 3pc, a negative real rate of interest of more than 8pc.“ – bto: Im Euro ist es nicht anders.
  • It’s a form of ‚financial repression‘; those who lend to the Government are being badly squeezed.Thus far, it is bondholders, not taxpayers, who have been doing the bulk of the work in restoring the Government’s balance sheet, once again proving the old adage that it is always the creditor who pays when debt gets too high, not the borrower. Either they fall victim to default and restructuring, or to inflation, which is simply default by another name.“ – bto: Es wundert mich nicht. Und ich würde sagen, es ist ehrlich gesagt nicht die schlechteste denkbare Lösung, es mit Inflation zu machen.
  • This time, however, things may be a little different. Around a quarter of the national debt is these days in the form of inflation linked gilts. At the time many of these so-called ‚linkers‘ were issued it seemed to the Debt Management Office like a good wheeze.“
  • „With pension funds falling over themselves to buy the stuff and inflation seemingly well anchored by an independent central bank at 2pc, it seemed like the cheap option – virtually zero or even negative cost with some tranches.“ – bto: Deutschland hat das nicht. Aber dafür sind bei uns die Anleihen eher Kurzläufer – Herrn Scholz sei Dank – und zudem ist ja die EZB jetzt der Zwischenfinanzier, der auf die Einlagen der Banken rasch höhere Zinsen zahlen muss.
  • The effect of QE is to exchange longer dated, more expensive government debt for short dated, less expensive Bank of England reserves. This worked well for the Government when inflation and interest rates were low; overall debt servicing costs fell even though the Government was piling on the debt. But now the tables are reversed. The Treasury is forced to pay Bank Rate on reserves swollen by years of QE, and Bank Rate keeps on ticking higher to counter double-digit inflation.“ – bto: Die Eurostaaten müssen der EZB vorerst nichts überweisen. Aber die Gewinnausschüttungen fehlen.
  • What is more, much of the welfare budget, including the state pension, is also indexed to inflation, exerting significant upward pressure on public spending. In other words, the Government has a powerful incentive to get inflation down again; the old dynamic of allowing elevated inflation to do the work in eroding the level of debt relative to nominal GDP no longer works in the way it used to.“ – bto: Wenn dem so ist, müssen die Steuern deutlich steigen. Ich kann mir das außerhalb Deutschlands nur schwer vorstellen.
  • Small wonder that the Treasury is desperate to keep the lid on public sector pay. The idea that inflation matching pay awards are perfectly affordable, as argued by many on the Left, might just about be true were it not for the fact that so much of the rest of the Government’s expenditure, including debt servicing costs, is also in some way linked to the rate of inflation.“ – bto: Ich bin gespannt, wie die Tarifverhandlungen im öffentlichen Dienst in Deutschland ablaufen. Ich denke sehr großzügig…

Fazit: Es ist doch nicht so wie gedacht mit Blick auf die Entschuldung durch Inflation. (Anmeldung erforderlich): „Germany confronts a broken business model“, 06. Dezember 2022