La debacle del tope de endeudamiento de Estados Unidos

NUEVA YORK – Cuando la crisis de deuda soberana de Grecia ponía en riesgo la supervivencia del euro, las autoridades estadounidenses llamaban a sus pares europeos para expresar su consternación ante su incapacidad para resolver la cuestión. Ahora, la cosa se dio vuelta y son los líderes norteamericanos los que reciben ese tipo de llamados. La amenaza más reciente de un incumplimiento de pago de la deuda de Estados Unidos pudo evitarse, pero sólo temporariamente. Otra batalla se avecina a comienzos del año próximo, cuando será necesario volver a elevar el tope de endeudamiento del gobierno norteamericano.

En Europa, la opinión generalizada es que la falta de una unión política -considerada una precondición necesaria para compartir las obligaciones de deuda y, así, colocar al euro en una posición sólida- está en la raíz de la crisis del continente. Pero la crisis de Estados Unidos sugiere que la unión política no es ninguna panacea para gestionar la deuda soberana. Durante semanas, los republicanos en la Cámara de Representantes amenazaron con bajarle la persiana al gobierno -impidiendo así que extendiera su autoridad de endeudamiento más allá de la fecha límite del 17 de octubre- para objetar leyes que fueron sancionadas por el Congreso en su totalidad y ratificadas por la Corte Suprema. 

En la eurozona, la principal causa de desacuerdo ha sido cómo se incurrió en las deudas que tienen que ser refinanciadas -es decir, si contravinieron límites de deuda acordados-. En Estados Unidos, el eje de la disputa ha sido el objetivo que tendrán los fondos. La diferencia en definitiva es menor y no habría que dejar que opaque lo que realmente está en juego: la autogobernancia democrática en una época de alta deuda pública.

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