Locuras fiscales en Estados Unidos y más allá

Quienes sabemos que los desequilibrios fiscales de largo plazo suelen acabar en desastre –inflación elevada, recesión profunda, crisis financiera, o las tres—estamos perplejos ante las prioridades de George W. Bush y su administración. La "crisis" de la seguridad social, en cuya "solución" quiere gastar su capital político, es apenas el tercero de los problemas fiscales de Estados Unidos por su urgencia y gravedad –en momentos en que esos problemas se han convertido en una amenaza seria a la estabilidad económica global.

El problema más grave de Estados Unidos es el déficit de corto y mediano plazo entre los ingresos fiscales y el gasto. Este déficit lo creó Bush exclusivamente, al decretar recortes fiscales –que ahora busca ampliar—que no son recortes en absoluto, puesto que simplemente transfieren la carga de la consolidación fiscal a las generaciones futuras.

El segundo problema más serio es la explosión a largo plazo que se vislumbra en los programas de atención a la salud de Estados Unidos. Eso también es resultado en parte de las acciones de Bush, o más bien de su falta de acción, ya que la política de gasto en ese rubro de su primer período fue no hacer prácticamente nada para alentar la eficiencia y limitar los costos. En cambio, promulgó una prestación de medicinas en el programa Medicare que promete gastar cantidades enormes de dinero a cambio de una mejoría sorprendentemente pequeña en la atención a la salud.

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