Paul Lachine

Les alternatives à l’austérité

NEW YORK – Les pays ont hérités de la Grande Récession des déficits jusqu’ici inconnus en temps de paix, ainsi qu’une inquiétude croissante concernant l’augmentation de leurs dettes nationales. Dans beaucoup d’entre eux, cette situation a généré un nouvel épisode d’austérité – des politiques qui vont presque certainement affaiblir les économies nationales et globales et ralentir fortement le rythme de la reprise. Ceux qui espèrent de larges réductions des déficits seront cruellement déçus, car le ralentissement économique diminuera les revenus fiscaux et augmentera les demandes d’assurance contre le chômage et d’autres bénéfices sociaux.

Les tentatives destinées à limiter l’augmentation de la dette servent à faire réfléchir – elles forcent les pays à se concentrer sur les priorités et se poser des questions de valeurs. A court terme, il est peu probable que les Etats Unis se lancent dans des coupes budgétaires massives, similaires aux Royaume-Unis. Mais le pronostic de long terme – rendu particulièrement pessimiste par l’incapacité de la réforme des soins de santé à réduire de manière significative l’augmentation des coûts médicaux – est si morne qu’il y a de plus en plus de support bipartisan pour faire quelque chose. Le président Barack Obama a nommé une commission bipartisane de réduction des déficits, dont les présidents ont récemment dévoilé un aperçu de ce à quoi leur rapport pourrait ressembler.

Techniquement, réduire un déficit est évident : il convient soit de réduire les dépenses, soit d’augmenter les taxes. Pourtant, à l’évidence, le programme de réduction du déficit, au moins aux USA, va déjà plus loin : il s’agit d’une tentative de diminution des protections sociales, de la progressivité du système fiscal, ainsi que du rôle et de la taille du gouvernement – cela tout en affectant le moins possible les intérêts établis, tel que le complexe militaro-industriel.

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