Les mauvais élèves de l'Europe

Aux États-Unis, les états qui poursuivent des politiques fiscales peu judicieuses sont pénalisés. Leurs obligations se vendent au rabais comparées à celles d'autres états mieux gérés. Le service de la dette plus élevé qu'ils doivent payer sert, à un certain degré, de mesure disciplinaire contre la tentation de dépenser aujourd'hui et de payer plus tard.

Naturellement, la discipline du marché n'est pas parfaite : le marché obligataire ne “voit” pas vraiment les passifs futurs implicites (comme les paiements promis des retraites). Cependant, l'application de cette discipline fiscale, associée aux processus budgétaires internes de chaque état, a empêché la survenue de crise fiscale de grande ampleur aux États-unis depuis la Grande Dépression.

Considérons le cas de l'Europe. Avant l'avènement de l'euro, de nombreux États d'Europe du sud subissaient des crises fiscales, produisant des vagues inflationnistes élevées. Mais avec la mise en place de la monnaie unique, le chemin permettant de résoudre une crise fiscale par l'inflation a été fermé, depuis que la Banque Centrale Européenne (BCE) surveille la politique monétaire.

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