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Pragmatismo o perdición

BERKELEY – Resulta prácticamente imposible evaluar el progreso de la economía de Estados Unidos en los últimos 40 años sin sentirse desilusionado. Desde la perspectiva del norteamericano promedio, casi un tercio del potencial productivo del país se ha despilfarrado en un gasto que no suma nada a la riqueza real o destruida por la crisis financiera de 2008.

Desde mediados de los años 1970, Estados Unidos incrementó el gasto en la administración de la atención médica en aproximadamente el 4% del PIB y aumentó el gasto en sobretratamientos en alrededor del 2% del PIB. Países como Canadá, el Reino Unido y Francia no han seguido sus pasos y, aun así, les está yendo igual de bien -si no mejor- a la hora de asegurar que sus ciudadanos se mantengan saludables.

Mientras tanto, en el mismo período, Estados Unidos ha desviado el gasto en educación, infraestructura pública e industria hacia la oferta de incentivos para los ricos -principalmente en forma de recortes impositivos-. Estados Unidos gasta 10% más de lo que gastaba antes en facilitarles a los ricos la tarea de acumular riqueza, pero ha recortado la inversión pública en capital físico y humano en aproximadamente el 4% del PIB, comparado con lo que se habría esperado si los patrones de gasto hubiesen seguido las tendencias históricas.

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