Um novo modelo de disciplina fiscal

Como garantir a discplina fiscal na Europa? Charles Wyplosz avança hoje, no Vox, uma proposta inspirada no modelo dos Estados Unidos. Fiscal Discpline in the Euro Zone assenta no modelo do Fiscal Compact e adiciona-lhe apenas a certeza absoluta de que a no bail out clause é mesmo para levar à letra. Uma forma de o fazer, defende Wyplosz, era permitir o default da Grécia.

The debt legacy shuts off key exits from the circle of impossibilities. After all, governments with much lower debts would have the fiscal space needed to end austerity and pursue expansionary policies. How then can debts be lowered fast enough to save the euro?

One solution would be a burst of inflation. That cure, however, is worse than the disease. The only remaining solution is debt restructuring. And it would be a solution since a vast body of literature (summarised in Reinhart and Rogoff, 2009) shows that defaulting countries quickly recover market access. Sovereign restructuring sounds radical, but much less so if it is seen as (i) an act of desperation arising from an unprecedented situation, and (ii) something that will never happen again.

The ‘never again’ requirement is the connection between legacy and the fiscal discipline exigencies (…)

What is missing is the no bailout rule. While it is already in the European Treaties, its credibly was shattered by the Greek, Irish and Portuguese packages. The task facing EZ leaders is to rebuild the credibility of the no bailout clause. This will be difficult. Traumatic events and extremely public discussion will be necessary. Debt restructuring by several Eurozone nations would provide one such vehicle. Such defaults would be so fraught with domestic and international political turmoil that future Eurozone policymakers would do whatever is necessary to avoid finding themselves in the same situation in the future. The never-again pledge, in other words, would quickly gain credibility.

Any doubts? Just imagine what would have happened had the no bailout rule been invoked in May 2010. Greece would have gone to the IMF and defaulted on its smallish public debt of 120% of GDP. By now, the crisis would be over.

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