Wie bezahlen wir den russi­schen Krieg gegen die Ukraine?

Die nahe liegende Frage: Wer soll das bezahlen? Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Clemens Fuest vom Ifo-Institut erwartet schon den Ukraine-Soli. Klar, wie bei Fleisch, Tempolimit und Energiewende werden alle Lieblingsthemen einiger Parteien nun durchgedrückt. Fehlt nur noch Vermögensabgabe etc. …

Auch die FINANCIAL TIMES (FT) denkt über das Thema nach:

  • “In 1940, John Maynard Keynes set out ‘How to pay for the war’ in a pamphlet. It is a question western countries should be asking themselves today. They may be trying hard not to be dragged into the fighting themselves, but the war is nonetheless imposing costs on Ukraine’s friends — and nowhere more so than in energy prices. Gas, electricity and fuel prices have soared; traders now warn of a ‘systemic shortage’ of diesel.”bto: Wenn wir nun auch noch in eine Welt kommen, in der Gas und Öl völlig ausfallen und Nahrungsmittel knapp werden, haben wir unstrittig einen erheblichen Schaden.
  • “How, then, to pay for the war? Asking the question in this way can, perhaps, focus our minds so that the answer is the one we choose rather than one we passively let happen because we underestimate the scale of the task ahead. What is more, ensuring that we consciously plan how to pay for (our part of) the war in the best possible way also makes it more likely that we will help Ukraine (and therefore ourselves) to win it — because the better we manage the pain of higher energy costs, the easier we shall find it cutting off the oil and gas revenues that finance Russia’s war crimes.” – bto: Es ist richtig, dass wir die Kosten in einem geordneten Verfahren verteilen sollten.
  • “The illusion that only Ukraine is at war is holding back EU countries’ readiness to put their own economies on a war footing.” – bto: Das sehen wir auch an der Diskussion in Deutschland, was immer noch nicht anerkennt, dass wir Atomkraftwerke laufen lassen müssen.
  • “Once we accept that the squeeze on energy and other commodities must, like other costs of war, leave the economy poorer overall, we can distinguish three main ways to allocate the burden. The first is inflation: just let prices rise and sauve qui peut. The second is to take the burden on the fiscal balance sheet, through subsidies paid for with some sequence of government borrowing and tax increases. The third is price controls.” – bto: Wir werden natürlich Inflation zulassen, weil die EZB nicht handeln kann. Wir werden aber auch (in Deutschland) die Gelegenheit nutzen, endlich die Steuern anzuheben, denn nur so schaffen wir Gerechtigkeit.
  • “The first world war and its aftermath were in many countries paid for in the first way: inflation. The second world war was paid for by a combination of the second and third: significant national indebtedness, certainly, but also price management and the rationing that necessarily comes with it. Inflation was largely repressed through forced saving. It is important to understand Keynes’s argument as to how this repression would happen in Britain’s second world war effort — not just by legally holding prices down (and rationing in the face of the resulting excess demand) but because massive public borrowing diverted private spending power into private savings.” – bto: Der Staat schaffte massiv neues Geld durch seine Verschuldung, entzog das Geld aber den Bürgern durch die Ausgabe von vielen Schuldpapieren, die diese gekauft haben, weil sie sich eh nichts mit dem Geld kaufen konnten.
  • “Countries around Europe have grasped for a combination of all of these. Inflation in commodity and energy prices, originally because of a lopsided US post-pandemic recovery but intensified by the war, is spreading to most other prices. Governments have offered support packages for energy consumers. But they have also acted to manage down prices.” – bto: Das ist immer noch mehr Stückwerk als richtige ökonomische Strategie.
  • “The risk today is that politicians are too tempted by the third because they are too worried about public finances. The short-run political gain from putting a lid on energy prices is obvious: it pleases all buyers of energy and puts the cost on somebody other than the government imposing it. But it is a terrible idea. If the reason for high prices is ultimately not enough supply to meet the desired demand, then capping prices will simply make that problem worse, discouraging both supply drives and demand reduction efforts. That also means price regulation by itself cannot ultimately work without resorting to some sort of rationing and enforced efficiency gains.” – bto: Das ist durchaus interessant, denn es ist ein klares Votum gegen Preiskontrollen, die die Probleme verschärfen. Hat Nixon damals übrigens auch feststellen müssen.
  • “(…) high energy prices — driven by the high price of gas and other fossil fuels — are a tool to help speed up the green transition, by increasing the rewards for expanding carbon-free electricity supply and for economising energy demand and using energy more efficiently.” – bto: Das mag so sein. Aber die Gefahr ist sehr real, dass das die Bürger nicht so sexy finden.
  • “The inconvenient fact is that capping prices, even reducing them simply by lowering energy taxes, will delay efficiency drives (…) governments must bite the bullet on option two, even though it is by far the costliest for public finances. That means letting energy prices balance supply and demand but massively increasing fiscal support for those hurt the most and for investment. The right model is to pay households and small businesses an energy subsidy, not linked to their actual use but to cover the cost, above “normal” prices, of stipulated necessary minimum consumption levels.” – bto: Das ist nichts anderes als eine Steuererhöhung für die meisten, weil die Profiteure die Transferempfänger sind. Und was ist mit den energieintensiven Unternehmen? Sollen die dicht machen und die Produktion in andere Regionen verlagern?
  • “Keynes emphasised that the costs of the war should be managed so as to bring forward rather than delay the goal of greater equality. The same is true today for the goal of a fair transition to a carbon-free economy.” – bto: damit auch hier das gewünschte Ziel. Für Länder wie UK mag das nötig sein, für Deutschland sicherlich nicht.

ft.com: „How to pay for the war in Ukraine“, 24. März 2022