Reconsiderando la Justicia Fiscal

Recortar los impuestos ha sido el credo de los conservadores de mercado libre desde los días de Ronald Reagan y Margaret Thatcher. Ahora hay otras personas que se han unido al llamado por menores impuestos, como Jacques Chirac, presidente de Francia, Edmund Stoiber de Alemania y hasta los socialistas suecos. La eficiencia económica es el argumento principal utilizado para justificar la reducción de impuestos, pero también han habido una serie de confusas declaraciones acerca de la "justicia" de los impuestos que han tenido un importante papel en esto. Sorprendentemente, la misma confusión afecta tanto a quienes apoyan los recortes como a los que se oponen a ellos.

Los impuestos son la herramienta más importante para una sociedad cuando se trata de alcanzar su concepción general de justicia. Pero la mayoría de los debates acerca de la justicia de los impuestos consisten sólo de demandas conflictivas relacionadas con la forma más justa de repartir las cargas fiscales entre los distintos grupos de ingreso. Tal postura es irremediablemente miope pues no hay manera de evaluar la justicia de ninguna distribución de cargas fiscales en relación al ingreso si se considera a tal distribución como un ente aislado de los valores que una sociedad estima y pretende mantener.

Consideremos la controversia generada por el debate acerca de si se debe reemplazar la gradación del impuesto al ingreso con una tasa única o impuesto "constante". El impuesto constante del 13% de Rusia, introducido el año pasado, ha sido muy aplaudido por los conservadores estadounidenses, incluyendo al presidente Bush, y la idea tiene un apoyo considerable en el Congreso de Estados Unidos.

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