¿Cuándo es riesgosa la deuda gubernamental?

BERKELEY – Un gobierno que no recauda suficientes impuestos para cubrir sus gastos se topará eventualmente con toda suerte de problemas generados por la deuda. Sus tasas de interés nominales aumentarán a medida que los tenedores de bonos teman una suba de la inflación. Sus líderes empresariales se ocultarán y buscarán retirar su riqueza de las empresas que lideran por miedo a mayores impuestos futuros a las sociedades.

Por otra parte, las tasas de interés reales aumentarán debido a las incertidumbres sobre las políticas, y muchas inversiones verdaderamente productivas desde el punto de vista social dejarán de ser rentables. Y, cuando se instale la inflación, la división del trabajo se reducirá. Lo que alguna vez constituyó un gran entramado unido por finos vínculos monetarios se fragmentará para formar redes muy pequeñas consolidadas mediante fuertes vínculos de confianza personal y obligación social. Y una división del trabajo pequeña significa baja productividad.

Hay mucha probabilidad de que todo esto suceda –eventualmente– si un gobierno no recauda suficientes impuestos para cubrir sus gastos. Pero, ¿puede ocurrir mientras las tasas de interés se mantienen bajas, los precios de las acciones muestran tendencias alcistas y la inflación está contenida? Otros economistas –incluidos Larry Summers, Laura Tyson, Paul Krugman y muchos otros– y yo, creemos que no.

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