Two hands holding a US dollar

El peligroso gradualismo de la Reserva Federal

NEW HAVEN – A estas alturas, ya es rutina conocida. Tras un extenso período de extraordinaria laxitud monetaria, la Reserva Federal de los Estados Unidos comenzó el largo retorno a la normalización. Acaba de dar el primer paso para volver a llevar la tasa de referencia a un nivel que no suponga ni estímulo ni restricción para la economía estadounidense.

La mayoría de los participantes del mercado financiero aplauden esta estrategia. Pero es un peligroso error. La Reserva está copiando una página del guión de su última campaña de normalización: la serie de subas incrementales de la tasa que ejecutó entre 2004 y 2006 a continuación del período de flexibilidad extraordinaria de 2001 a 2003. Así como el gradualismo de entonces preparó el escenario para la devastadora crisis financiera y la terrible recesión de 2008 y 2009, el riesgo de que se produzca otro incidente en este nuevo camino hacia la normalización, que promete ser aún más largo, es cada vez mayor.

El problema se debe a que la Reserva Federal, como otros grandes bancos centrales, se ha convertido en un instrumento de los mercados financieros en vez de guardián de la economía real. Esta transformación comenzó a fines de los ochenta, cuando la disciplina monetaria puso freno a la inflación y la Reserva tuvo que hacer frente a otros desafíos.

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