Paul Lachine

Offre ou demande ?

CHICAGO – La science économique est une histoire d’offre et de demande. Typiquement, les deux sont égales et, si ce n’est pas le cas, des forces puissantes poussent l’une vers l’autre. Pourtant, le niveau élevé et persistant du taux de chômage aux Etats-Unis pose une vraie question quant à la nature du problème : est-ce la demande agrégée qui est trop faible, ou existe-t-il un problème d’offre ?

L’administration du président Barack Obama semble penser que le problème se situe au niveau de la demande, et a pris mesure de stimulus après mesure de stimulus : réduction des taxes et augmentation des transferts et des dépense publiques en vue de stimuler la consommation et l’investissement. La Réserve Fédérale mène une politique du même acabit, non seulement en maintenant les taux d’intérêt de court terme au plus bas, mais également en cherchant de mettre en ouvre une politique audacieuse de ciblage des taux de long terme. Quelques économistes progressistes en veulent encore plus.

Pourquoi ces politiques ne sont-elles pas parvenu à diminuer le chômage jusqu’à présent, alors que la reprise de la croissance est bien en cours ? Les économistes progressistes expliquent que les stimuli ont fonctionné, évitant une récession largement plus importante – sinon pire – mais que les mesures sont trop timides pour générer une reprise robuste.

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