La complaisance déplacée de l’Amérique à l’égard de son déficit

CAMBRIDGE – Les Etats-Unis restent confrontés à un déficit budgétaire dangereux, même si on pourrait ne pas en être conscient au vu de la complaisance qui domine les discussions budgétaires à Washington. Considéré comme un problème urgent jusqu'il y a peu, le déficit fédéral est maintenant relégué sur la liste d’attente de la politique américaine.

Le changement de point de vue a été déclenché par les nouvelles prévisions de déficit qui ont été récemment publiées par le Congressional Budget Office, l'organisme technique indépendant chargé de conseiller le Congrès sur les questions budgétaires. Selon le rapport du CBO, le déficit budgétaire américain va diminuer de 7% du PIB en 2012 à 4% en 2013. Cette diminution reflète la réduction des dépenses publiques consacrées aux programmes du secteur de la défense et d’autres secteurs, qui sont le résultat du « séquestre » budgétaire en place depuis mars, ainsi que la hausse des recettes causée par l’augmentation des taux d'impôts sur le revenu et des charges sociales depuis la fin de 2012.

Plus frappante encore est la projection du CBO selon laquelle le déficit continuera à diminuer rapidement, pour atteindre seulement 2,1% du PIB en 2015 avant de remonter progressivement jusqu’à peine 3,5% du PIB en 2023 – la fin de la période de prévision officielle du CBO. Cette évolution du déficit implique que le ratio dette / PIB du gouvernement restera à peu près au niveau actuel de 75% au cours des dix prochaines années.

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