Paul Lachine

Un préstamo y una plegaria

NUEVA YORK – Los países conocidos colectivamente como PIIGS –Portugal, Irlanda, Italia, Grecia y España– cargan con unos niveles cada vez más insostenibles de deuda pública y privada. Varios de los más afectados –Portugal, Irlanda y Grecia– han visto que los costos de su endeudamiento alcanzaban cifras sin precedentes en las últimas semanas, aun después de que su pérdida de acceso a los mercados propiciara rescates financiados por la Unión Europea y el Fondo Monetario Internacional. También están aumentando los costos del endeudamiento de España.

Grecia es claramente insolvente. Aun con un plan de austeridad draconiano, que asciende al 10 por ciento de su PIB, su deuda pública ascendería al 160 por ciento del PIB. Portugal, donde el crecimiento lleva un decenio estancado, está experimentando un desastre en cámara lenta que provocará la insolvencia del sector público. En Irlanda y en España, la transferencia de enormes pérdidas del sistema bancario al balance general del Estado, que se suma a una deuda pública en aumento, provocará con el tiempo la insolvencia de su deuda soberana.

El planteamiento oficial, el plan A, ha sido el de fingir que esas economías padecen una crisis de liquidez, no un problema de solvencia, y que la facilitación de préstamos de rescate, junto con austeridad fiscal y reformas estructurales, puede restablecer la sostenibilidad de la deuda y el acceso a los mercados. Esa actitud de “prolongar y fingir” o de “prestar y rezar” está condenada al fracaso, porque, lamentablemente, la mayoría de las opciones a las que han recurrido en el pasado los países endeudados para librarse de su excesiva deuda no son viables.

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