¿Quién le teme al cuco del estímulo fiscal?

NUEVA YORK – Después del desastre económico de 2008-2009, es comprensible que la gente esté preocupada por la devastación que podría producirse en caso de que haya una segunda crisis financiera. Pero la probabilidad de que eso ocurra es bastante pequeña, y si lo hiciera, esta vez los efectos serían mucho menos catastróficos, ya que ahora no hay enormes burbujas especulativas o crediticias que puedan estallar.

Eso no impide que tanto algunos expertos como los medios de prensa estén exagerando esos temores y distrayendo así la atención de otros esfuerzos mayores en pos de evitar un estancamiento prolongado en gran parte del mundo desarrollado; estancamiento que obstaculizará inevitablemente la recuperación económica en el resto del mundo, especialmente en los países en vías de desarrollo.

El “cuco” favorito del momento es la deuda pública. Se está armando un enorme alboroto sobre los altos niveles de deuda soberana en ambos lados del Atlántico y en Japón, pero como señala el comentarista en temas económicos Martin Wolf, “El problema fiscal está en el largo plazo, no en lo inmediato”. Además, si bien Japón tiene la relación deuda/PIB más alta de todos los países ricos, no es un problema grave, porque la deuda está en poder de inversores locales. Y en cuanto a Europa, ya es ampliamente aceptado que sus problemas crediticios se deben a aspectos de la integración europea que no se pensaron suficientemente bien.

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