Obama en el medio tiempo

NUEVA YORK – En septiembre de 2008, la economía global y el sistema financiero se vieron arrasados por un terremoto, cuyo epicentro se produjo en Estados Unidos. Era el fin de la administración Bush. Faltaban dos meses para la elección presidencial. El momento, desde el punto de vista de la gestión de crisis, no podría haber sido peor.

El nivel de incertidumbre sobre los valores de los activos, la solvencia y la conexión de los balances que prevalecía en ese momento era extraordinariamente alto. La incertidumbre alimentó el miedo, haciendo que bancos, empresas y hogares acumularan efectivo. El consumo se derrumbó, arrastrando consigo las ventas minoristas y, después de un breve intervalo, también el empleo y la inversión. Las elecciones individualmente racionales dieron lugar a resultados colectivamente irracionales.

Estas condiciones tenían todos los ingredientes para un escenario de depresión, en el que el racionamiento del crédito destruía indiscriminadamente a las empresas y, por ende, requería una acción rápida, agresiva y poco convencional por parte del gobierno de Estados Unidos y la Reserva Federal. La respuesta, montada por la administración Bush y adoptada por la administración Obama, fue todo lo de arriba. Una combinación de recapitalización del sector financiero y una rápida expansión del balance de la Fed impidió una suspensión total del crédito. 

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