Hasta la fecha, la política de austeridad se había impuesto: meter tijera para tratar de cuadras las cuentas públicas que andaban locas:
Se ha reducido a la mínima expresión la inversión pública, el gasto en infraestructuras, en los países que más han sufrido la crisis. A cero:
¡Qué cambio, si lo comparas con otras épocas!
En España, por ponértela de ejemplo, las obras faraónicas del AVE, se frenaron en seco y se hacen con cuenta gotas. Pero es que las carreteras están en un estado lamentable. No se ha invertido nada en hacer cosas nuevas, la labor del mantenimiento brilla por su ausencia. Dicen que harían falta 6.500 millones de euros para reparchearlas; lo malo es que no los tenemos…
Desde McKinsey: Bridging-Global-Infrastructure-Gaps-Full-report-June-2016.pdf
Global infrastructure systems are straining to meet demand, and the spending trajectory will lead to worsening gaps. But there are solutions to unlock financing and make the sector more productive.
The world today invests some $2.5 trillion a year on transportation, power, water, and telecommunications systems. Yet it’s not enough—and needs are only growing steeper. In a follow-up to its comprehensive 2013 report Infrastructure productivity: How to save $1 trillion a year, the McKinsey Global Institute finds that the world needs to invest an average of $3.3 trillion annually just to support currently expected rates of growth (exhibit). Emerging economies will account for some 60 percent of that need.
Despite glaring gaps and years of debate about the importance of shoring up backbone systems, infrastructure investment has actually declined as a share of GDP in 11 of the G20 economies since the global financial crisis. Cutbacks have occurred in the European Union, the United States, Russia, and Mexico. By contrast, Canada, Turkey, and South Africa increased investment.
If the current trajectory of underinvestment continues, the world will fall short by roughly 11 percent, or $350 billion a year. The size of the gap triples if the additional investment required to meet the new UN Sustainable Development Goals is included.
Years of chronic underinvestment in critical areas such as transportation, water treatment, and power grids are now catching up with countries around the world. If these gaps continue to grow, they could erode future growth potential and productivity. It is therefore critical to get finance flowing into urgently needed projects.
A great deal of attention has focused on connecting institutional investors with projects that need their capital as well as creating an expanded role for public-private partnerships. But the vast majority of infrastructure will likely continue to be financed by the public and corporate sectors.
Even in the face of fiscal concerns, there is substantial scope to increase public infrastructure investment. Governments can increase funding streams by raising user charges, capturing property value, or selling existing assets and recycling the proceeds for new infrastructure. In addition, public accounting standards could be brought in line with corporate accounting so infrastructure assets are depreciated over their life cycle rather than immediately adding to deficits during construction. This change could reduce pro-cyclical public investment behavior.
Corporate finance makes up about three-quarters of private finance. Unleashing investment in privatized sectors requires regulatory certainty and the ability to charge prices that produce an acceptable risk-adjusted return, as well as enablers like spectrum or land access, permits, and approvals.
Beyond ramping up finance, there is even bigger potential in making infrastructure spending more efficient and effective. Accelerating productivity growth in the construction industry, which has flat-lined for decades, is critical to this effort. Additionally, as our 2013 research showed, improving project selection, delivery, and management of existing assets could translate into 40 percent savings.
Since our original report was published, McKinsey has completed a detailed diagnostic in 12 countries to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of their infrastructure systems. Our findings indicate that even the most advanced economies have significant room to learn from each other and to build stronger capabilities and institutions. Capturing the full opportunity for infrastructure productivity requires a detailed understanding of where processes tend to veer off track in each country. Virtually every location needs to build expertise and establishing the right organizational structures for developing critical skills and sharing best practices. This effort can pay remarkable dividends, since infrastructure influences the quality of life for citizens everywhere and paves the way to productivity growth and competitiveness.
Sólo los emergentes han seguido tirando del carro y hacienda todo eso que les faltaba…
PD1: En España seguimos reduciendo la inversión pública. No hay dinero para nada. Se tocan muchas partidas de gasto, y se mete mano a las infraestructuras. Alguna vez habrá que parchear las carreteras, digo yo…
El plan enviado a Bruselas plantea que la partida baje al 2,09% del PIB
El plan presupuestario remitido a Bruselas sigue cebándose con la inversión pública. Las cuentas presentadas ante la Comisión Europea contemplan que este capítulo caiga hasta el 2,1% del PIB durante 2016 y hasta el 2,09% en 2017, casi medio punto menos que el 2,5% registrado en 2015.
Semejantes niveles bajan incluso de los mínimos históricos contabilizados en 2013 y 2014: un 2,2% en sendos años. En términos de PIB, nunca se había exhibido una cota tan baja en toda la serie histórica, que da comienzo en 1995. Por dar una idea, en ese año se empleó un 4,3% en formación bruta de capital. Y hasta el comienzo de la crisis, este concepto ha oscilado entre el 3,6% de finales de los noventa y el 5,1% que se registró en 2009, año récord en inversión pública debido, fundamentalmente, al Plan E. Los expertos señalan que más allá de 1995 los datos recogidos no son homogéneos. Sin embargo, consideran que una vez sumadas las inversiones militares probablemente esta rúbrica se sitúe en niveles de décadas muy anteriores a los noventa.
La mitad que en 2008
En cifras absolutas, esto significa que la partida se desplomará en 2016 hasta el entorno de los 23.400 millones frente a los 27.000 millones de 2015. Una parte de esta caída se debe a que el año anterior Eurostat obligó a contabilizar 2.000 millones en inversiones publico-privadas realizadas en Cataluña y Aragón durante ejercicios anteriores y que, por lo tanto, no se repetirán. Por otra parte, esta previsión también implica que se está acometiendo un recorte en la inversión pública por valor de unos 1.600 millones, un tajo que el Ejecutivo en funciones está haciendo por dos vías: una, el cierre contable de agosto. Y dos, el acuerdo de no disponibilidad del gasto ministerial que anunció en abril.
Y en EEUU, sin pasta, recaudando menos, la inversión en infraestructuras está paralizada también. Y eso que tienen las carreteras que precisan un nuevo asfaltado y tal:
Source: Department of Commerce, Dodge Data Analytics , Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research
PD2: Y aquí la propuesta de Trump para invertir en infraestructuras:
President-elect Trump has made a $1 trillion infrastructure investment one of his first priorities as president, promising in his victory speech early Wednesday morning to “rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals.” As Goldman's economics research team points out, Trump's plan, as detailed in a report released by his economic advisers Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, calls for $1 trillion of spending over 10 years to be funded largely by private sources which would be repaid with tax credits and usage taxes (i.e. toll roads).
His infrastructure plan calls for up to $1 trillion in additional spending over ten years, most of it privately financed. A memo released in late October by Mr. Trump’s economic advisors Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro detailed a plan to finance up to $1 trillion in infrastructure spending over ten years, equal to $100bn per year or about 0.5% of GDP. We previously estimated that a spending boost of this size would reduce the unemployment rate by about 0.3pp and raise inflation a touch, leading the Fed to eventually hike one or two more times by 2019 relative to a baseline without the infrastructure package.
The plan described by Ross and Navarro would be largely privately financed, but encouraged by tax credits. The plan would seek to incentivize the private sector to increase investment in infrastructure projects that would be supported by future usage fees, such as road tolls. Ross and Navarro suggest that 17% of the initial investments could be financed with equity and the remainder with debt. The government would then provide a tax credit equal to 82% of the equity to reduce the cost of financing. The large role of debt-financed private investment in Mr. Trump’s infrastructure plan implies that a significant increase in interest rates could be a hurdle for the plan’s feasibility.
While Trump would like to make his infrastructure plan a cornerstone of his presidency there are some questions about it's feasibility. The first question is can such a massive infrastructure plan pass Congress. Trump’s financial plan, if the numbers actually pencil, would essentially sidestep the political funding squabbles by focusing mostly on private investment, a concept that both parties generally support. That said, as the Wall Street Journal points out, the plan could face some push back from Democrats who have been pushing for more public funding.
Mr. Trump appears to be more focused on infrastructure than many Republicans in Congress are. That said, his proposal, which relies on tax credits, might attract more Republican support than a spending plan of the same size. Moreover, there is significant Democratic support for additional infrastructure investment, which raises the possibility that it could be combined with the tax reform legislation discussed earlier to increase support for the overall package.
For now, members of Congress of both parties and transportation advocates say they are optimistic lawmakers can reach a bipartisan deal to provide some of the needed funding to update roads, power lines and airports. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the U.S. needs to boost infrastructure spending by 0.7% of gross domestic product between now and 2030 to meet the demands of a growing economy.
Both parties have said they agree on the need for new spending on infrastructure, but the challenge has been finding the money to pay for it. An Obama administration proposal to use new revenue from a corporate tax overhaul didn’t get through Congress last year. In December, lawmakers cobbled together a $305 billion measure using a reserve account held by the Federal Reserve.
The next question is whether Trump's plan can truly be funded without public dollars. Trump's economics team argues that the proposed tax credits would be offset by income taxes paid by workers employed by new projects and corporate taxes paid by contractors. That said, the assumption implies that those workers wouldn't otherwise already be working. Moreover, while certain types of infrastructure projects lend themselves to private financing, projects like toll roads, airports or water systems where funds can be segregated and investors can be paid a return on invested capital, other projects like pure maintenance work are more difficult to fund privately.
Ross and Navarro argue that the plan would be revenue neutral because the tax credit would be offset by revenue raised from taxes on income earned by workers employed by the infrastructure projects and on profits earned by contractors.However, their calculations both assume that the workers employed would not otherwise be earning taxable income and assume a tax rate that looks somewhat optimistic under the tax plan proposed by the Trump campaign. We expect that the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee would find that the plan increased the deficit under their methodologies.
Meanwhile, as CNBC points out, the construction labor markets are already very tight so finding incremental labor for such massive projects could be tough. That said, we suspect Trump knows where the find some unemployed auto workers in OH, PA, MI and WI that would love to have those jobs.
Construction companies are already scrambling to fill open positions. Some 221,000 construction jobs were open in September, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is more than four times the number at the start of 2012.
Some two thirds of construction contractors report having a hard time finding skilled workers, according to a survey earlier this year by the Associated General Contractors, a trade group. The shortages were most pronounced in the South and Midwest, where three-quarters reported having a hard time filling skilled job openings.
"These workforce shortages are not going to go away in the near future," said Stephen Sandherr, the group's CEO, adding that they have "the potential to undermine broader economic growth by forcing contractors to slow scheduled work or choose not to bid on projects, thereby inflating the cost of construction."
That's showing up in higher wages needed to recruit and keep construction workers. Nearly half of the contractors surveyed have raised base pay rates, and a fifth have boosted benefits or offered bonuses.
"We're having to dig harder and deeper to find truck drivers," said William Sandbrook, CEO of U.S. Concrete. "We've increased wages, and we've added quarterly bonuses, so it's in their interest to stay for the next three months."
While it's unclear exactly how Trump's infrastructure plan will develop from here, it is at least refreshing to see public discourse over how our publicly elected officials might actually accomplish something over the next 4 years.
PD3: ¿Por qué es tan presuntuosa la gente? ¿Por qué la gente, yo mismo, cuando hablamos largamos como si fuéramos expertos de todo? ¿Por qué tenemos que fardar de lo que no somos, de lo que no tenemos, como si lo fuéramos, como si lo tuviéramos? Maldita presunción, maldito fardeteo, maldito postureo, siempre mostrando una imagen que no es como somos…, para pretender ser mejores, cuando no se es mejor por mucho que alardeemos… ¡Es una memez, es pura soberbia!