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Het Trump-deficiet

CAMBRIDGE – Het is een mythe die na de financiële crisis opgeld heeft gedaan dat op bezuinigingen gebrande conservatieve regeringen altijd voorstander zijn van budgettaire behoedzaamheid, terwijl op herverdeling gerichte progressieven grote overheidstekorten als 's werelds grootste 'gratis lunch' beschouwen. Ook al zit er wellicht een greintje waarheid in, dit simplistische perspectief gaat volstrekt voorbij aan de ware onderliggende politieke economie van de tekorten.

Feit is dat als één partij de touwtjes van de regering stevig in handen heeft, zij een krachtige prikkel ondervindt om te lenen ter financiering van haar prioriteiten, in de wetenschap dat zij niet per se degene hoeft te zijn die voor de kosten zal moeten opdraaien. We mogen dus verwachten dat de regering van de Amerikaanse president Donald Trump, conservatief of niet, agressief gebruik zal maken van begrotingstekorten om haar prioriteiten op het gebied van de belastingen en de bestedingen te financieren.

Het meest nauwkeurige raamwerk voor het denken over overheidstekorten in democratieën werd eind jaren tachtig voorgesteld door de Italiaanse wetenschappers Alberto Alesina en Guido Tabellini, min of meer gelijktijdig met twee Zweden, Torsten Persson en Lars Svensson. Hoewel hun benaderingen en détail enigszins verschillen, is de fundamentele gedachte dezelfde: Je geeft geld aan je vrienden zolang je dat kan. Als er later, als de oppositiepartij aan de beurt is, minder te verdelen valt, dan is dat jammer.

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