Gravar más la canasta familiar reduce la capacidad de compra

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Una canasta básica cuesta $1.300.000, entre tanto el salario mínimo está en $781.242.

Iván Posada Pedraza

La canasta básica familiar es el conjunto de bienes y servicios que se consideran necesarios para la subsistencia de una familia promedio compuesta por cuatro (4) personas, de las cuales 1,6 son aportantes. El valor de esta canasta sirve a su vez para calcular el salario mínimo para poder adquirir esta canasta. El seguimiento a la variación – aumento o disminución – de los precios de esta canasta es la base para construir el índice de precios al consumidor, IPC.

Costo y salario mínimo

Una canasta que incluya alimentos, vestuario, vivienda (arriendo), educación, recreación, cultura, servicios públicos, etc, cuesta en promedio $1.300.000, valor muy por encima del salario mínimo actual vigente ($ 781.242).

La canasta básica que rige hoy en Colombia está compuesta por cerca de 500 bienes y servicios y el criterio inicial era que estuviera exenta de impuestos para mantener constante el poder adquisitivo de los compradores, teniendo en cuenta que está dirigida a amplios sectores populares que no tienen ingresos altos y que en muchas ocasiones no alcanzan a devengar el salario mínimo. Con las consecutivas reformas tributarias de los últimos años cerca de la mitad de los bienes y servicios de la canasta ya están gravadas con tres tipos de impuesto que van desde cero, cinco hasta el 19 por ciento.

El anterior muestreo indica que muchos productos de la canasta básica ya tienen el máximo del gravamen permitido por ley, 19 por ciento, cifra que de acuerdo al argumento de la Asociación Nacional de Instituciones Financieras, ANIF, es el promedio de tributación que se paga en economías similares a la colombiana.

Principio de progresividad

Lo que ignora el citado gremio es el nivel de desempleo e informalidad en el país, que reduce drásticamente la capacidad de compra de la clase media y popular del país. Ahora la última propuesta del ministro de Hacienda, Alberto Carrasquilla, es terminar de gravar todos los productos de la canasta básica y devolver el impuesto a los estratos bajos. Devolución que se haría no directamente sino a través de Familias en Acción u otros mecanismos que por lo general terminan en otras manos por la burocracia y por la corrupción.

Zonas francas y dividendos

Técnicos en materia tributaria ven razonable gravar las actividades comerciales y financieras de las zonas francas y los dividendos de los accionistas de las empresas que juegan en la bolsa. Gravar estas dos actividades rescataría en algo el principio de progresividad de la política tributaria y sería significativo en el recaudo. Por el contrario, gravar salarios y pensiones y poner a declarar renta al segmento de población de medianos y bajos salarios, como se pretende en el proyecto de reforma tributaria, reforzaría aún más la regresividad que se viene aplicando en las últimas reformas tributarias por un lado, y por el otro, resulta antitécnico, pues el costo del recaudo resulta muchas veces más alto que el propio impuesto.

La actual política fiscal está encaminada a incrementar los ingresos de la nación – o a reducir el déficit fiscal – vía impuestos como única alternativa.

Pero se pueden implementar políticas tales como generar empleo de calidad, reducir el desempleo, la informalidad y la tercerización, de tal forma que los ingresos de la población aumenten y en la misma medida aumenta la capacidad de compra (demanda) y en consecuencia esa población estaría dispuesta a pagar impuestos que se le retribuyan en salud, educación, vivienda, o sea, mejorando la calidad de vida de la comunidad.

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