Ko desničarska ideologija gre predaleč (1): Nemška infrastrukturna podhranjenost

Nemčija je v času pretekle Velike recesije, ki zanjo sicer ni bila krizna, pod pritiskom konzervativne ideologije, da mora država prav v času krize varčevati, malce pretiravala. Delež javnih naložb v infrastrukturo je najnižji med vsemi velikimi razvitimi OECD državami. Vse zato, da bi nemški finančani minister Wolfgang Schaueble v poduk svojim kolegom v evrskem območju lahko pokazal “schwarze Null“. Še več, ob solidni gospodarski rasti je zaradi šparanja nemški proračun v presežku (0.8% BDP).

S tem seveda ni nič narobe, v času rasti si morajo države narediti zalogo za slabe čase z doseganjem proračunskih presežkov. Problem pa je, ker je zaradi “šparanja za vsako ceno” začela infrastruktura na mnogih mestih razpadati. Denimo, tam blizu, kjer sem študiral za doktorat (v Kielu), je najbolj frekventen umetni kanal na svetu, ki povezuje Baltsko in Severno morje ter ladjam skrajšuje pot za 450 km. Zaradi izostalih vzdrževalnih del od štirih vstopnih zapornic deluje samo ena, zaradi česar nastajajo dolgi zastoji. Lani je še ta odpovedala. Železniška povezava čez dansko mejo je zaprta zaradi razpadajočega se mostu, itd.

Pravila so sicer fajn, hudič pa je, kadar se jih nekdo iz ideoloških razlogov drži za vsako ceno in pri tem dela nepopravljivo oziroma drago popravljivo realno škodo.

Such tales of leaky classrooms and potholed roads, as well as patchy internet, are the flip side of today’s wealthy, booming Germany. In the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness survey in 2010-11, Germany ranked fifth in the world for both road and railway quality, and 12th for internet bandwidth. The latest survey ranks it 16th, 11th and 29th respectively.

Marcel Fratzscher of the German Institute for Economic Research believes that low public investment weighs on the (also low) private investment rate. Business lobbies, like the Northern Business Union in Schleswig-Holstein, clamour for something to be done. The government is increasing infrastructure spending to €14bn in 2017, up 10% on last year. But local governments reckon they need over €135bn just to handle the current backlog.

In the campaign for the national election in September, politicians will clash over whether to invest the federal budget surplus or to return it in tax cuts. The liberal Free Democratic Party and many in Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats prefer the latter. But Sebastian Dullien, an economist at Berlin’s University of Applied Sciences, argues that past tax relief has not fuelled higher investment; rather it mostly sits in bank accounts. The Social Democrats and Greens share that analysis. Mrs Merkel, in contrast to others in her party, seems to prefer a mix of tax cuts and investment.

Vir: The Economist

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