Bernanke es el elegido

BERKELEY – William McChesney Martin, demócrata, fue reelegido dos veces para el cargo de Presidente de la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos por el Presidente republicano Dwight D. Eisenhower. Paul Volcker, demócrata, fue reelegido por el gobierno de Reagan (pero no dos veces: existen rumores persistentes de que el Secretario del Tesoro de Reagan, James Baker, pensaba que Volcker estaba demasiado interesado en la estabilidad monetaria y no lo suficiente en la producción de economías fuertes en años presidenciales con vistas a la elección de republicanos). Alan Greenspan, republicano, fue reelegido dos veces por Bill Clinton y ahora Barack Obama ha anunciado su intención de volver a nombrar para el cargo a Ben Bernanke, elegido por un gobierno republicano.

Como indica esa historia, es más notable que un Presidente de los Estados Unidos no reelija a un Presidente de la Reserva Federal nombrado por el partido opuesto que reelegir a uno que desee continuar. Las excepciones principales son la de Volcker con Reagan y la de Arthur Burns con Jimmy Carter. La presidencia de la Reserva Federal es el único cargo del Gobierno de los EE.UU. en el que se da esa circunstancia: es una señal de su estatuto excepcional como cargo tecnocrático no –o no demasiado– partidista y con un poder y una libertad de elección inmensos: casi una cuarta rama del gobierno, como dice David Vessel en su reciente libro In Fed We Trust (“En La Reserva Federal confiamos”).

La razón por la que los presidentes americanos están tan dispuestos a reelegir a presidentes de la Reserva Federal nombrados por el partido opuesto está estrechamente relacionada –creo yo– con una de las dos cosas que un presidente persigue: la confianza de los mercados financieros en que la Reserva Federal aplicará políticas no inflacionistas. Si los mercados financieros pierden esa confianza –si concluyen que la Reserva Federal está demasiado dominada por el Presidente para luchar contra la inflación o que su presidente no desea controlar la inflación–, las noticias económicas serán, casi con toda seguridad, malas.

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