El secuestro de la recuperación de Estados Unidos

BERKELEY – Estados Unidos se enfrenta a una nueva ronda de recortes en el gasto del gobierno federal, esta vez estos recortes amenazan con disminuir el crecimiento del PIB en por lo menos 0,5 puntos porcentuales y con precipitar una pérdida de al menos un millón de puestos de trabajo. Los recortes generalizados del gasto, los llamados “secuestros” del gasto reducirían el gasto en $85 mil millones, lo que significa para este año un recorte de alrededor del 8% en los programas de defensa y de un 5% en los programas domésticos – y con recortes adicionales de similares montos en dólares cada año hasta el año 2021.

Todas las funciones importantes del gobierno –seguridad nacional, ayuda exterior, investigación básica, ayuda de emergencia y educación, sólo para nombrar unos pocos ejemplos destacados – sufrirían un golpe inmediato y considerable en lo que se refiere a su financiación. Estos recortes, junto con la subida de impuestos acordada en el mes de enero, quitarían alrededor de 1,25 puntos porcentuales del crecimiento del PIB del año 2013, destinando a la economía a otro año de recuperación tibia e incrementos decepcionantes en cuanto a puestos de trabajo.

El verdadero objetivo de los defensores del secuestro de gastos es lograr un gobierno federal más pequeño – un objetivo que a menudo se oculta detrás del argumento de que el gasto público excesivo asfixia el crecimiento económico. Aunque este es un argumento políticamente convincente, porque aviva los temores del público relativos a un déficit fuera de control, se ve desmentido por los hechos.

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