Apprivoiser les politiciens des deux côtés de l'Atlantique

En dépit des ronchonnements occasionnels des politiciens, personne ne doute sérieusement de l'indépendance de la Banque centrale européenne pas plus que du fait que la politique monétaire en vigueur dans la zone euro ne soit par conséquent bien protégée contre les pressions politiques. Mais la mort récente du Pacte de croissance et de stabilité, tué par l'Allemagne, son père, avec une France jouant le rôle du co-conspirateur et de complice complaisant, nous rappelle une leçon essentielle : les politiciens élus trouvent difficile, sinon impossible, de renoncer à un pouvoir immense dans le domaine de la politique fiscale.

Cette situation s'applique dans tout l'Atlantique. La Réserve fédérale américaine est bien entendu extrêmement indépendante. Mais toute tentative visant à limiter la discrétion fiscale du gouvernement fédéral américain à la manière du Pacte de stabilité (par exemple, la loi Gramm/Rudman tristement célèbre de l'ère Clinton) s'écroule toujours à la fin devant la pression du président et du Congrès.

Dans les années d'élection, la politique monétaire peut servir à stimuler, si ce n'est plus, une économie, tout comme la politique fiscale, et c'est là l'objectif des politiciens. Mais l'utilisation irréfléchie de l'un de ces deux mécanismes afin d'atteindre des objectifs à court terme risque de créer des coûts à long terme, justifiant certaines restrictions imposées à la latitude qu'ont les politiciens pour influencer les politiques macroéconomiques.

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