Déjouer la réforme fiscale aux USA

NEWPORT BEACH – Cela semblait être une idée franchement intelligente : brandir une menace très importante et fortement publicisée, en vue de pousser les politiciens à dépasser leurs chamailleries pour se mettre à collaborer et faire des compromis. Eh bien, ça n'a pas fonctionné jusqu'à présent ; et les enjeux, déjà considérables, viennent encore de s'agrandir.

Je ne parle pas ici de la crise de la dette européenne, dont une résolution décisive attend encore et toujours davantage de coopération et de partage des responsabilités, tant au sein de chaque état membre de la zone euro qu’entre pays créanciers et débiteurs. Non, je faisais plutôt allusion à la situation budgétaire complexe aux États-Unis – un problème flou qui vient de devenir bien concret par la récente mise en garde de l'agence de notation Moody, selon laquelle les Etats-Unis pourraient perdre leur note de crédit l'année prochaine si le Congrès ne parvenait pas à avancer sur le projet de réforme fiscale à moyen terme.

Affaiblis par les blessures auto-infligées lors de la débâcle sur le plafond de la dette à l'été 2011 – qui a miné la croissance économique et la création d'emplois, et aggravé la crise de confiance des Américains dans leur système politique – le Congrès américain et l'administration du président Barack Obama ont reconnu la nécessité d'une approche mesurée et rationnelle à la réforme fiscale. Pour en augmenter la probabilité, ils ont convenu de réductions de dépenses et de hausses d’impôts immédiates (la « falaise fiscale »), qui entreraient automatiquement en vigueur au cas où un accord sur un ensemble complet de réformes fiscales leur échappait.

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