Paul Lachine

El miedo a la gran deuda

NEW HAVEN – Según las apariencias, la crisis de la deuda soberana de Europa y la creciente preocupación sobre la posición de la deuda de los Estados Unidos no deberían hacer temblar la confianza económica básica. Pero, al parecer, sí lo hicieron. Y la pérdida de confianza, al desincentivar la inversión y el consumo, puede convertirse en una profecía auto-cumplida, que causa la debilidad económica que se temía. Las caídas significativas en los índices de confianza de los consumidores en Europa y América del Norte ya reflejan esta dinámica perversa.

Ahora tenemos un índice diario para EE.UU., el Índice de Confianza Económica de Gallup, de esta forma podemos señalar los cambios en la confianza en el transcurso del tiempo. El índice de Gallup cayó bruscamente entre la primera semana de julio y la primera semana de agosto, este fue el periodo durante el cual los líderes políticos de EE.UU. tuvieron a todos preocupados acerca de si serían capaces o no de elevar el techo de la deuda del gobierno federal y evitar que el 2 de agosto se produzca la cesación de pagos de EE.UU. La historia se desarrolló en los medios de comunicación todos los días. El 2 de agosto vino y se fue, sin que llegara la cesación; pero, tres días después, un día viernes, Standard & Poor bajó su calificación de la deuda de largo plazo de EE.UU. de AAA a AA+. El lunes siguiente, el índice S&P 500 cayó casi un 7%.

Al parecer, el fantasma de un estancamiento del gobierno que cause de repente una cesación de pagos humillante hizo que EE.UU. se asemeje a los países europeos que en los hechos se balancean al borde del precipicio. La historia de Europa se convirtió en la historia de Estados Unidos.

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