Tim Brinton

El ataque a la austeridad

BRUSELAS.– Europa parece obsesionada con la austeridad. Uno tras otro, los países se ven obligados por los mercados financieros o por la Unión Europea a recortar sus déficits públicos. Y, como si esto fuera poco, 25 de los 27 estados miembro de la UE han acordado un nuevo tratado (llamado «compacto fiscal») que les obligará a no incurrir jamás en déficits presupuestarios de más del 0.5% de sus PBI por ajustes cíclicos. (Como referencia, el déficit de los Estados Unidos en 2011 fue cercano al 8% de su PBI).

Pero, como la economía europea está en riesgo de caer en recesión, muchos observadores se preguntan si la «austeridad» no será contraproducente. ¿Es posible que una reducción de los gastos gubernamentales (o un aumento de los impuestos) lleve a una caída tan pronunciada en la actividad económica que los ingresos caigan y la posición fiscal se deteriore aún más?

Esto es muy improbable, dada la forma en que funcionan nuestras economías. Además, si así fuese, los recortes impositivos reducirían los déficits presupuestarios, porque un crecimiento económico más rápido generaría mayores ingresos, incluso con menores tasas impositivas. Esta afirmación se ha contrastado varias veces en los EE. UU., donde a los recortes fiscales siguieron invariablemente mayores déficits.

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