La dette et le déclin de l’Amérique

MILAN – Les Italiens comme d’autres pays Européens ont beaucoup de difficultés à résoudre leurs problèmes de dettes nationales, publiques et privées ; il peut donc paraître immodeste de la part des Européens de commenter le grave et croissant problème de la dette américaine. Mais les réalités budgétaires des deux côtés de l’Atlantique sont aujourd’hui très similaires ; et seule une confiance persistante dans la promesse de l’Amérique garde prégnant l’espoir de certains Européens d’un grand ‘coup de théâtre’ américain qui résoudrait la terrible situation de la dette du pays.  

Bien sûr, de nombreux Américains reconnaissent l’ampleur du poids de la dette du pays. L’amiral Mike Mullen, directeur des chefs d’états-majors, et donc le plus haut gradé militaire de l’Amérique, a récemment déclaré : « Le plus grand danger à la sécurité américaine provient de la situation de la dette. » Quatre Américains sur dix sont d’accord avec lui, alors que moins de trois Américains sur dix pensent que le terrorisme ou l’Iran représentent de plus grands dangers.

Le statut de super puissance de l’Amérique a toujours été lié à son niveau de dette. Ce fut l’absence de dette, en effet, qui marquât l’émergence des Etats-Unis comme puissance mondiale entre 1914 et 1917. Les Etats-Unis sont passés d’une situation où ils devaient 3 milliards de dollars (principalement à la Grande-Bretagne) à un état de créditeur net pour environ le même montant, grâce aux 6 milliards de crédits de guerre alloués aux Alliés occidentaux. 3 milliards de dollars de crédits supplémentaires pour la reconstruction européenne après-guerre a cimenté le statut de l’Amérique en tant que première nation créditrice mondiale, avec un surplus équivalent à environ 8% de son PIB à l’époque.

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