Paul Lachine

Los peligros de la reducción del déficit

NUEVA YORK – Una ola de austeridad fiscal se precipita sobre Europa y los Estados Unidos. La magnitud del déficit presupuestario -como la de la recesión- ha tomado a todos por sorpresa. Pero pese a las protestas de los antes defensores de la desregulación, que quisieran que el gobierno siguiera siendo pasivo, la mayoría de los economistas creen que el gasto público ha tenido un impacto positivo que ha ayudado a evitar otra Gran Depresión.

La mayoría de los economistas también coinciden en que es un error mirar solamente un lado de la hoja de balance (ya sea en el sector público o privado). Uno debe evitar fijarse solamente en las deudas de una empresa, también hay que ver sus activos. Esto debería servir para responder a los halcones del sector financiero quienes están dando la alarma sobre el gasto público. Después de todo, incluso los halcones del déficit reconocen que deberíamos concentrarnos en la deuda nacional de largo plazo y no en el déficit actual. El gasto, especialmente en inversión educativa, tecnológica y en infraestructura, puede realmente conducir a la disminución del déficit de largo plazo. La visión miope de los bancos contribuyó a crear la crisis; no podemos dejar que la visión miope del gobierno –empujado por el sector financiero- la prolongue.

Un crecimiento más acelerado y los rendimientos de la inversión pública producen mayores ingresos fiscales, y un rendimiento de entre 5% y 6% es más que suficiente para compensar los incrementos temporales de la deuda nacional. Un análisis de costo-beneficio (que tome en consideración otros impactos además de los del presupuesto) hace que esos gastos, incluso financiados con deuda, sean todavía más atractivos.

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