La debacle de California

Berkeley – Si bien la administración Obama atrae las miradas mundiales, puede que el futuro de Estados Unidos sea escrito –como tantas veces antes- por y en su estado más grande. California, que una vez fuera el icono del optimismo y espíritu de emprendimiento estadounidense, ilustra hoy las dificultades a las que se enfrenta el país, y cuánto es posible equivocarse todavía en el nivel local.

California, el más poblado y rico de los 50 estados de la Unión, ha sido por largo tiempo un polo de atracción de personas talentosas y emprendedoras de todo el mundo. Uno de cada cuatro de sus residentes nació en el extranjero. Sus dos polos industriales más famosos, Silicon Valley y Hollywood, dependen del flujo constante de talentos del exterior. Su sólido sector agrícola es un enorme exportador de alimentos, beneficiándose del creciente apetito de los consumidores de los países en desarrollo.

No obstante, el poder tecnológico y empresarial de California (por si solo, sería la novena mayor economía del mundo) coexiste con un sistema político disfuncional que lo ha llevado al borde de la bancarrota fiscal. El 19 de mayo, los votantes del estado rechazaron en una elección especial un conjunto de aumentos de impuestos y recortes de gastos necesarios para equilibrar su presupuesto. Ahora California se enfrenta a un vergonzante rescate financiero federal o a un prolongado periodo de gobierno de los jueces, quienes según la ley californiana tienen el poder de anular acuerdos laborales, rescindir contratos y, en general, reestructurar los compromisos financieros del estado.

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