La equivocada complacencia de Estados Unidos sobre su déficit

CAMBRIDGE – Estados Unidos todavía se enfrenta a un peligroso déficit fiscal, pero uno no lo notaría si se guiara por la complacencia que predomina en los debates presupuestarios de Washington. El déficit federal, que hasta hace poco se consideraba un problema urgente, se está relegando a un segundo plano en la política estadounidense.

Este cambio de mirada comenzó con las previsiones corregidas del déficit que publicara recientemente la Oficina Presupuestaria del Congreso, agencia técnica independiente responsable de asesorar al Congreso sobre asuntos presupuestarios. De acuerdo con el informe de la OPC, el déficit fiscal de EE.UU. bajará del 7% del PIB en 2012 a un 4% en 2013. Esta reducción refleja los recortes del gasto público en programas de defensa y otros de tipo general que fue necesario aplicar por la reducción presupuestaria automática (conocida como “sequester”) que entró en vigencia en marzo, así como el aumento de los ingresos públicos por el alza en la recaudación de impuestos sobre la renta y nóminas desde fines de 2012.

Más llamativa aún es la proyección de la OPC de que el déficit seguirá disminuyendo con rapidez hasta llegar a apenas el 2,1% del PIB en 2015, para luego aumentar gradualmente hasta solo el 3,5% en 2023, año en que acaba su periodo de pronóstico oficial. Todo esto implica que la relación de deuda pública a PIB se mantendrá alrededor del nivel actual del 75% a lo largo de los próximos diez años.

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