¿Todos para un impuesto y un impuesto para todos?

CAMBRIDGE – Cuando estalle la próxima crisis financiera global a plena escala, no permitamos que se diga que el Fondo Monetario Internacional nunca se preocupó por prevenirla. Recientemente, el FMI propuso un nuevo impuesto global a las instituciones financieras en relación aproximada a su tamaño, así como un impuesto a las ganancias y bonificaciones de los bancos.

La propuesta del Fondo ha sido recibida con un desdén y un escarnio predecibles por parte de la industria financiera. Más interesantes y significativas son las opiniones encontradas de los presidentes y ministros de Finanzas del G-20. Los gobiernos en el epicentro de la reciente crisis financiera, especialmente Estados Unidos y el Reino Unido, se muestran absolutamente entusiastas, particularmente respecto del impuesto en proporción al tamaño. Después de todo, ellos quieren implementarlo de cualquier manera. Los países que no experimentaron los recientes colapsos bancarios, como Canadá, Australia, China, Brasil e India, no están tan entusiasmados. ¿Por qué deberían cambiar los sistemas que resultaron ser tan resistentes?

Es muy fácil criticar los puntos específicos del plan del FMI. Pero el diagnóstico más general que hace el FMI del problema es muy atinado. Los sistemas financieros están inflados por garantías implícitas de los contribuyentes, que les permiten a los bancos, especialmente a los grandes, pedir dinero prestado a tasas de interés que no reflejan plenamente los riesgos que asumen en busca de ganancias sobredimensionadas. Dado que el riesgo luego se transfiere a los contribuyentes, imponer impuestos a las compañías financieras en proporción a sus empréstitos es una manera sencilla de garantizar cierta justicia.

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