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El déficit de Trump

CAMBRIDGE – Un mito de la post-crisis financiera es que los gobiernos conservadores preocupados por la austeridad siempre favorecen la prudencia fiscal, mientras que los gobiernos progresistas proclives a la redistribución consideran que los grandes déficits son la mayor ganga del mundo. Esta perspectiva simplista, si bien puede contener una dosis de verdad, ignora seriamente la verdadera economía política subyacente de los déficits.

La realidad es que, cuando un partido ejerce un control firme del gobierno, tiene un fuerte incentivo para endeudarse con el fin de financiar sus prioridades, sabiendo que no necesariamente será él quien pague la cuenta. De manera que tenemos que estar preparados para que la administración del presidente electo de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump, conservadora o no, haga un uso agresivo de los déficits presupuestarios para financiar sus prioridades en materia de impuestos y gasto.

El marco más preciso para reflexionar sobre los déficits presupuestarios gubernamentales en las democracias fue propuesto a fines de los años 1980 por los académicos italianos Alberto Alesina y Guido Tabellini, más o menos simultáneamente con dos suecos, Torsten Persson y Lars Svensson. Si bien sus enfoques difieren ligeramente en los detalles, la idea básica es la misma: uno le presta dinero a sus amigos mientras puede. Si después hay menos dinero para repartir, cuando al partido de la oposición le llega el turno de asumir el poder, bueno, mala suerte.

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