The Fear Factor (le facteur peur)

LOS ANGELES – Le débat expansion versus consolidation fiscales continue à diviser le monde développé. En réponse à la récession globale de 2008, le Royaume-Uni s’est engagé dans un programme d’austérité, alors que les Etats-Unis décidaient d’un stimulus fiscal de 800 milliards de dollars. Malgré le ralentissement de l’économie, le Premier Ministre britannique David Cameron promet de maintenir la trajectoire d’austérité. Quant à Obama, il maintient lui aussi sa stratégie : il a récemment proposé une nouvelle vague de dépenses gouvernementales et de diminutions fiscales destinées à stimuler l’emploi, pour un montant de 450 milliards de dollars.

Le chômage aux USA est resté au-dessus des 9% au cours de 22 des 24 derniers mois. Alors que certains analystes sont en faveur d’un nouveau stimulus pour réduire le chômage, d’autres demandent une austérité à la Royaume-Uni. L’une ou l’autre de ces approches peut-elle réduire efficacement le chômage, ou est-ce qu’un nouveau round de « quantitative easing » (une forme non conventionnelle de stimulus économique selon laquelle la banque centrale achète des actifs financiers) serait plus approprié ?

Alors que les économistes des deux côtés du débat actuel, lauréats du Prix Nobel, ne parviennent pas à s’entendre sur la manière de solutionner le problème du chômage, le public est confus, à juste titre. En effet, Paul Krugman et Joseph Stiglitz appellent à encore plus de stimulus fiscal, centré sur les dépenses gouvernementales d’investissement en éducation et en infrastructure. De l’autre côté, Robert Mundell, Myron Scholes, et Reinhard Selten se sont prononcés en faveur de « mesures draconiennes » pour ramener les niveaux de dette sous contrôle.

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