Brooklyn development Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

El muro virtual de Trump

CAMBRIDGE – En muchos sentidos, el plan del Partido Republicano de implementar un “impuesto de ajuste en frontera” en los Estados Unidos es el complemento virtual del muro físico que el presidente Donald Trump quiere levantar en la frontera con México. Lo primero no se instaló tan profundamente en la conciencia pública como lo segundo, pero puede terminar afectando al estadounidense medio mucho más (y no necesariamente para bien).

En principio, la idea básica es aplicar un impuesto de, tal vez, 20% a las importaciones y otorgar exenciones impositivas por un valor similar a las exportaciones. Lo primero que dirá casi cualquier populista es que esta medida será fantástica para el empleo estadounidense, ya que desalentará las importaciones y alentará las exportaciones. Por desgracia, como muchos ya señalaron, el razonamiento tiene una falla, porque Estados Unidos aplica un régimen de tipo de cambio flotante.

Un resultado probable del impuesto fronterizo es que el dólar se apreciará; esto abaratará las importaciones a Estados Unidos (porque con cada dólar se podrá comprar más moneda extranjera); en el otro sentido, esa misma apreciación hará más difícil a los extranjeros comprar exportaciones estadounidenses. La predicción de manual es que la variación del tipo de cambio compensará exactamente el impuesto, con lo que la balanza comercial quedará igual que antes. De modo que los que dicen que la propuesta de los republicanos es pura cháchara tal vez no anden muy errados; pero no nos apresuremos a sacar conclusiones.

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