Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images

Amerika moet een besluit nemen over de staatsschuld

BOGOTÁ – Moet de Amerikaanse regering proberen zo lang mogelijk te blijven profiteren van de huidige ultra-lage leenkosten door staatsobligaties met een langere looptijd uit te gaan geven? Dat is een lastige vraag, maar nu de totale schuldenlast toch al hoog is (om maar te zwijgen van de niet-gefinancierde pensioenverplichtingen en gezondheidszorgkosten, die waarschijnlijk allebei nog zullen stijgen), is de tijd misschien gekomen.

Tot nu toe hebben het Amerikaanse ministerie van Financiën en de Federal Reserve Board (het federale stelsel van Amerikaanse centrale banken, kortweg de Fed) in eendrachtige samenwerking geprobeerd de langlopende staatsschuld laag te houden, om de rente voor de particuliere sector te beperken. Op dit moment bedraagt de gemiddelde looptijd van de Amerikaanse staatsschuld (inclusief de balans van de Fed) nog geen drie jaar, veel minder dan die van de meeste Europese landen, zelfs als je rekening houdt met de kwantitatieve versoepelingsprogramma's van hun eigen centrale banken.

De voorkeur voor kortetermijnleningen als middel om de economie aan te jagen heeft tot nu toe zin gehad. Gezien het feit dat de rente op Amerikaanse staatsobligaties met een looptijd van dertig jaar grofweg 200 basispunten hoger ligt dan die op obligaties met een looptijd van één jaar, heeft het kortetermijnlenen de overheid ook geld bespaard.

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