Domando a los políticos en ambos lados del Atlántico

A pesar de los refunfuños ocasionales de algunos políticos, nadie pone seriamente en duda la independencia del Banco Central Europeo, o que la política monetaria dentro de la zona del euro esté debidamente aislada de las presiones políticas. Pero la reciente muerte del Pacto para la Estabilidad y el Crecimiento (a manos de Alemania, su padre, con Francia como conspirador y cómplice) nos recuerda una lección esencial: a los políticos electos les es muy difícil, si no es que imposible, ceder el poder en el área de la política fiscal.

Lo mismo sucede del otro lado del Atlántico. La Reserva Federal de los EU es, por supuesto, muy independiente. Pero cualquier intento por limitar la discreción fiscal del gobierno federal al estilo del Pacto de Estabilidad (las tristemente célebres reglas Gramm/Rudman de la era Clinton, por ejemplo) siempre cae ante la presión del presidente y el congreso.

La política monetaria se puede utilizar para estimular una economía al igual que la política fiscal, si no es que más, durante un año electoral, cosa que los políticos siempre querrán hacer. Pero el uso imprudente de cualquiera de esos dos mecanismos para obtener metas de corto plazo puede crear costos de largo plazo, lo que justifica ciertas restricciones a la capacidad de los políticos para ejercer su influencia sobre las políticas macroeconómicas.

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