US President Joe Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at the White House on January 29. Pool / Getty Images
We live in exceptional times that require special responses.
In the case of democracies, this does not mean that it is necessary to revolutionize the system, but rather to search within it for new balances, deep readjustments.
Among them, it highlights the need for stronger action by the State - as a provider of public services more essential than ever and guarantor of a decent level of social cohesion - which must inevitably be sustained by greater resources.
In this context, the powerful political momentum that the Biden Administration is fostering opens up new scenarios, especially in the search for a great global tax pact that ensures that large companies contribute more fairly to the public coffers.
The hopeful American proposal has two axes.
On the one hand, the objective set out this week by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, Janet Yellen, to establish a global minimum rate for corporation tax stands out.
This would represent an important shift in the predominant fiscal discourse in recent decades of downward tax competition between countries.
The average corporate tax rate in the world's most advanced economies has gone from 32% in 2000 to 23% in 2018. On the other hand, Washington is open to supporting large multinationals paying a fair share of taxes wherever they go. generate the benefits.
This is a very controversial issue that has led some countries such as Spain or France to approve a tax on digital services, known as the Google tax, to tax more technology companies that can transfer their intangible assets to countries like Ireland with more taxation. favorable.
The US initiative has received rapid support from top European leaders, a successful reaction.
The European Commission has also celebrated it and has called on the US to close an agreement this summer within the OECD, where the most developed countries have been negotiating a global tax framework that adapts to the new economic environment for almost a decade digital and prevent large multinationals from transferring their tax bases to more lax tax jurisdictions in search of lower taxation.
These practices immorally draw precious resources from so many public coffers.
Until now, Washington was one of the OECD members that most hindered the agreement.
This has changed.
The idea that more resources are needed to strengthen a welfare state eroded by the latest crises - and so necessary now - is so entrenched that even the International Monetary Fund, which once used to be the guardian of liberal orthodoxy, has proposed This week the creation of a temporary solidarity tax so that high incomes and companies that have benefited the most during the period of the pandemic contribute to paying the bill for the crisis.
The rate, defends the Fund, would help to balance social inequalities exacerbated by the health crisis.
There is no room for naivety.
Despite the fundamental change in the US, there are still great difficulties ahead, due to possible resistance from some countries and the maneuvers of the companies themselves.
But the goal is fair, and there is a great chance of reaching it.
With Biden in the White House and Mario Draghi presiding over the G-20, there is a leadership predisposed and ready to push the negotiations.
Capitalism has been and is a powerful factor in the development of societies;
successful investment deserves compensation.
But capitalism must assume that a decent attitude and avoiding excesses is the insurance of its future;
and countries that maintain fiscal policies harmful to the general interest must understand that excessive stubbornness will not be forgotten.
Solid public services in essential areas and the social cohesion that these generate are a factor of progress.
They must be adequately funded.