Margaret Scott

Un acuerdo perjudicial para el futuro de los Estados Unidos

WASHINGTON, DC – El pasado 2 de agosto, el presidente Barack Obama consiguió a duras penas la aprobación de una ley presupuestaria para los EE. UU., que combina un aumento del límite legal de la deuda pública con una reducción del gasto federal; así se eludió el riesgo de caer en la primera cesación de pagos en los 224 años de historia de los Estados Unidos. Pero el acuerdo alcanzado tiene tres grandes defectos. Dos de ellos se compensan entre sí, pero el tercero es una amenaza para lo que más necesitarán los Estados Unidos en los años venideros: crecimiento económico.

El primer defecto es que las reducciones del gasto son inoportunas, ya que llegan en un momento en que la economía de los EE. UU. está debilitada; se plantea así el riesgo de inducir una nueva recesión. El segundo defecto de la medida aprobada es que la reducción prevista no alcanza. Pero aunque el plan aprobado será insuficiente para resolver el problema de los déficit presupuestarios crónicos y cada vez mayores que aquejan a los Estados Unidos, al menos es probable que en un corto plazo no cause grandes daños a la economía.

Sin embargo, el tercer defecto, y el más perjudicial, es que los recortes se aplicarán en los lugares equivocados. Puesto que los congresistas demócratas tienen un compromiso casi religioso con mantener intactos los principales programas de prestaciones sociales para ciudadanos mayores con que cuenta el país (la Seguridad Social y Medicare), el proyecto no toca ninguno de los dos. Pero a medida que los 78 millones de estadounidenses de la generación del baby boom (personas nacidas entre 1946 y 1964) se retiren y comiencen a cobrar las prestaciones, el costo de estos programas se disparará; esto constituirá el mayor aumento del gasto público y del déficit previsto durante los próximos años. Y como los congresistas republicanos son igualmente alérgicos a cualquier suba impositiva (sin importar cuándo o en qué circunstancias), la reducción del déficit estipulada en el proyecto se deberá lograr sin aumentar los impuestos (ni siquiera a los estadounidenses más ricos).

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