Véronique de Rugy, du Mercatus, a témoigné devant le Senate Budget Committee et produit cette intéressante contribution aux débats sur l’ajustement fiscal … qui peut même contribuer à la croissance !

Capture d’écran 2013-05-27 à 18.10.53

En voici la conclusion :

Economists disagree a lot when it comes to fiscal policy. For instance, there is no consensus about the size of the spending multiplier or where on the Laffer curve most countries are situated. However, a consensus seems to have emerged recently that spending-based fiscal adjustments are not only more likely to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio than tax-based ones but also less likely to trigger a recession. In fact, if accompanied by the right type of policies (especially changes to public employees’ pay and public pension reforms), spending-based adjustments can actually be associated with economic growth.

Fortunately, successful fiscal adjustments are possible when based mostly on spending cuts and accompanied by policies that increase competiveness, as we have seen in the case of Germany, Finland, and other more recent examples, such as Estonia and Sweden. However, it is important to refrain from oversimplifying these results since fiscal adjustment packages are often complex and multiyear affairs. Also, many of the successful (i.e., expansionary and debt-to-GDP-reducing) fiscal adjustments in this literature are ones where the growth is export-led during times when the rest of the global economy is healthy or even booming. While there has been some recovery in the midst of the recession, we should recognize that it may be much harder today to achieve export-led growth when many countries are struggling.

The cost of well-designed adjustments plans will not be zero, but will be relatively low. Besides, it is not clear that the alternative to reducing spending is more economic growth. In fact, the alternative for certain countries could be a very messy debt crisis.