Todos los caminos del estímulo conducen a China

BEIJING – Ahora que los "retoños verdes" de la recuperación se marchitaron, el debate sobre el estímulo fiscal regresó para vengarse. En Estados Unidos, quienes argumentan a favor de otro paquete de estímulo observan que siempre fue un pensamiento ilusorio creer que un paquete de 787.000 millones de dólares podía compensar una caída de 3 billones de dólares en el gasto privado. Pero el desempleo aumentó incluso más rápido, y más, de lo esperado. Combinemos esto con la continua caída de los precios de la vivienda, y es entendible que el gasto de los consumidores se mantenga deprimido.

Los bancos, después de haber sido recapitalizados sólo lo necesario para mantenerlos a flote, todavía tienen balances débiles. Su consiguiente rechazo a prestar dinero restringe la inversión. Mientras tanto, los gobiernos estatales, al ver que los ingresos cayeron como resultado de menores ingresos tributarios el año pasado, están aplicando recortes como locos. Si había un argumento a favor de un estímulo adicional allá por febrero, ese argumento hoy es incluso más fuerte.

Pero el argumento en contra de un estímulo adicional también es fuerte. El déficit federal de Estados Unidos representa un alarmante 12% del PBI, y la deuda pública como un porcentaje del ingreso nacional ya se proyecta al doble, al 80% del PBI. La idea de que Estados Unidos puede salir de su carga de deuda, como lo hicieron Finlandia y Suecia después de sus crisis financieras en los años 1990, parece poco realista.

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