John Overmyer

La bomba de la deuda estatal

STANFORD – A medida que las economías de todo el mundo vuelven a crecer, después de la recesión más profunda en una generación, se está prestando mayor atención a unos déficits fiscales enormes y unos aumentos inmensos de la deuda estatal. Los déficits previstos para este año (como porcentaje del PIB) ascenderán, según cálculos aproximados, a un notable 13,5 por ciento en el caso de los Estados Unidos, el doble del más alto anterior en el momento más intenso de la horrorosa recesión de comienzos del decenio de 1980. En las otras economías más importantes, son así: el Reino Unido, 14,4 por ciento; Francia, 8,2 por ciento; la India, 8 por ciento; el Japón, 7,4 por ciento; Italia, 5,4 por ciento; Alemania, 4,7 por ciento; China, 4,2 por ciento; y el Canadá, 2,4 por ciento.

Además de la automática reducción de los ingresos fiscales y del aumento del gasto en asistencia social durante una recesión, muchas naciones añadieron grandes aumentos de gasto o reducciones de impuestos –o ambas cosas– para intentar estimular sus economías. El aumento del déficit es la suma de esos “estabilizadores automáticos” y programas discrecionales. Las mayores reacciones en forma de políticas discrecionales han sido la de los EE.UU.,  equivalente al 4,8 por ciento acumulativo del PIB, y la de China, equivalente al 4,4 por ciento, en el período 2008-2010, mientras que ha sido modesta en Alemania y el Canadá y menor en el Reino Unido, Francia y la India.

El mayor aumento automático del déficit ha sido también el de los EE.UU., mientras que ha sido modesto en el Reino Unido y Alemania y menor en el Japón, la India, el Canadá, China, Francia e Italia. Esos efectos automáticos han de comenzar pronto a desaparecer, cuando la actividad económica se recupere, pero se está debatiendo mucho –y también en las reuniones del G-8 y del G-20– sobre si se debe prorrogar o eliminar, repetir o revocar, el estímulo discrecional.

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