Os défices orçamentais são desde há três anos o inimigo público número 1 na Europa. Quem presta atenção ao discurso dos líderes europeus ficará certamente impressionado por saber que há, dentro da academia, muitos economistas reputados para quem a dívida pública é (quase) irrelevante. Nick Rowe ressuscitou o tema e os gigantes da blogosfera Paul Krugman, Dean Baker e Brad DeLong responderam. Vale a pena ler tudo. Aqui, um excerto de On the non burden of debt, de Krugman.
Well, let’s do a thought experiment that doesn’t, at least initially, seem to have anything to do with debt. Suppose that instead of gifting seniors with debt, President Santorum passes a constitutional amendment requiring that from now on, each American whose name begins with the letters A through K will receive $5,000 a year from the federal government, with the money to be raised through extra taxes. Does this make America as a whole poorer?
The obvious answer is not, at least not in any direct sense. We’re just making a transfer from one group (the L through Zs) to another; total income isn’t changed. Now, you could argue that there are indirect costs because raising taxes distorts incentives. But that’s a very different story.
OK, you can see what’s coming: a debt inherited from the past is, in effect, simply a rule requiring that one group of people — the people who didn’t inherit bonds from their parents — make a transfer to another group, the people who did. It has distributional effects, but it does not in any direct sense make the country poorer.