Los hijos de la austeridad

WASHINGTON, DC – Cuando los economistas discuten el «ajuste fiscal», habitualmente lo enmarcan como una meta abstracta y compleja. Pero la cuestión es realmente sencilla: ¿quién cargará con el peso de las medidas para reducir el déficit presupuestario? O bien es necesario aumentar los impuestos sobre algunas personas, o bien el gasto debe caer, o ambos. Lo del «ajuste fiscal» es jerga; la austeridad siempre está relacionada con la distribución del ingreso.

Gran parte de Europa ya se ha dado cuenta de esto, por supuesto. Ahora le toca a Estados Unidos. Y las señales actuales allí sugieren que las personas más directamente expuestas a un ajuste fiscal son las menos capaces de defenderse: los niños relativamente pobres. Por ejemplo, el actual secuestro del presupuesto (es decir, recortes presupuestarios transversales) ya está dañando a programas como Head Start, que apoya a la educación preescolar.

El comediante estadounidense Jimmy Kimmel recientemente se burló de ignorancia fiscal de sus compatriotas preguntando a los peatones en Hollywood Boulevard su opinión sobre «la decisión de Obama de perdonar el secuestro y enviarlo a Portugal». La filmación es comiquísima, pero también triste, porque el impacto sobre las vidas de algunas personas es muy real. Aproximadamente 70.000 niños probablemente perderán la posibilidad de acceder a Head Start durante el actual año fiscal.

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