Fairy wings train tracks slump ChrisHaysPhotography/Flickr

El hada de la confianza al centro del debate

LONDRES – En 2011, el economista y Premio Nobel Paul Krugman caracterizó el discurso conservador sobre los déficits presupuestarios en términos de "vigilantes de bonos" y el "hada de la confianza". A menos que los gobiernos recortasen sus déficits, los vigilantes de bonos les apretarían los tornillos forzando un alza de las tasas de interés. Pero si efectivamente hacían un recorte, el hada de la confianza los recompensaría estimulando el gasto privado más de lo que los recortes lo deprimieran.

Krugman pensaba que el argumento del "vigilante de bonos" podría ser válido para algunos países, como Grecia, pero sostenía que el "hada de la confianza" no era menos imaginaria que la que recoge los dientes de los niños. Recortar un déficit en un período de recesión nunca puede generar una recuperación. La retórica política puede impedir que se adopte una buena política, pero no puede impedir que tenga éxito. Por sobre todas las cosas, no puede hacer que una mala política funcione.

Recientemente debatí este punto con Krugman en un evento del New York Review of Books. Mi argumento fue que las expectativas adversas pueden afectar los resultados de una política, no sólo las posibilidades de que se adopte. Por ejemplo, si la gente creyera que el endeudamiento del gobierno tiene que ver simplemente con una tributación diferida, entonces podría ahorrar más para poder pagar su próxima factura de impuestos.

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