bank of england Shaun Curry/Stringer

Helicópteros al rescate de economías náufragas

BERKELEY – Para países donde el tipo de interés nominal es cero o casi, la ecuación del estímulo fiscal debería ser muy simple. En tanto el tipo de interés que paga un gobierno para endeudarse sea menor que la suma de la inflación y del crecimiento de la fuerza laboral y de su productividad, el costo de amortización de los pasivos adicionales será negativo. Al mismo tiempo, las ventajas de aumentar el gasto pueden ser considerables. Se cree que el multiplicador fiscal keynesiano para grandes economías industriales o expansiones coordinadas es aproximadamente dos: es decir, cada dólar extra de expansión fiscal da al PIB real un aumento de dos dólares.

Algunos apuntan al riesgo de que cuando la economía se recupere y suban los tipos de interés, los gobiernos no hagan los ajustes correspondientes a la política fiscal. Pero es un argumento falaz. Si un gobierno quiere aplicar malas políticas, lo hará independientemente de las decisiones que se tomen hoy. Y en la medida en que dicho riesgo exista, se compensa por los muy tangibles beneficios económicos del estímulo: aumento de capacidades de la fuerza laboral, más inversión de las empresas, desarrollo más veloz de modelos de negocios y creación de infraestructuras útiles.

El rechazo a la expansión fiscal no surge de consideraciones pragmáticas sino de la lisa y llana ideología. Son pocos los economistas competentes que no hayan llegado a la conclusión de que en Estados Unidos, Alemania y el Reino Unido los multiplicadores fiscales son suficientemente grandes y hay buenas oportunidades de derrame para programas de estímulo a la demanda, inversión e infraestructura, además de suficiente margen financiero para recomendar el uso de políticas considerablemente más expansivas.

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