Estimular o morir

NUEVA YORK – Como los brotes verdes de la recuperación económica que muchos advirtieron la pasada primavera se han vuelto marrones, surgen preguntas sobre si ha fracasado la política de hacer arrancar la economía mediante un estímulo fiscal en gran escala. ¿Se ha demostrado la inadecuación de la teoría económica keynesiana, una vez puesta a prueba?

Sin embargo, esa pregunta sólo tendría sentido si se hubiera probado a aplicar de verdad dicha teoría económica. De hecho, lo que ahora se necesita es otra dosis de estímulo fiscal. Si no se hace, podemos esperarnos un período aún más largo en el que la economía funcione por debajo de su capacidad y con un gran número de desempleados.

El gobierno de Obama parece extrañado y decepcionado con el gran número –que va en aumento– de desempleados. No debería estarlo. Todo eso era previsible. El verdadero criterio para calibrar el éxito del estímulo no es el nivel real de desempleo, sino el de cuál habría sido sin el estímulo. El gobierno de Obama siempre dijo con claridad que crearía unos tres millones de puestos de trabajo más que en caso contrario. El verdadero problema es el de que la sacudida que la crisis financiera asestó a la economía fue tan fuerte, que incluso el estímulo fiscal de Obama, aparentemente enorme, no ha sido suficiente.

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