Paul Lachine

¿Déjalo sangrar?

BERKELEY – Durante los 12 años de la Gran Depresión –entre el derrumbe del mercado de valores en 1929 y la movilización estadounidense para la Segunda Guerra Mundial– la producción en Estados Unidos se mantuvo en promedio aproximadamente un 15 % debajo de la tendencia predepresión. Esto implicó una caída total del producto equivalente a 1,8 años de PBI. Actualmente, incluso si la producción recupera su nivel potencial con inflación estable para 2017 –un «si» mayúsculo– EE. UU. habrá perdido el equivalente al 60 % del PBI de un año.

De hecho, es casi seguro que las pérdidas por lo que he estado llamando la «Depresión Menor» no habrán finalizado para 2017. No hay en el horizonte el equivalente moral de una guerra para atraer a EE. UU. hacia una poderosa bonanza y borrar el ensombrecimiento causado por la caída de la economía. Cuando tomo los valores actuales y proyecto el crecimiento futuro de EE. UU. considerando la tendencia reducida, el valor actual que obtengo para la pérdida adicional nunca es menor que el 100 % del producto de un año. Esto llevaría el costo total a 1,6 años del PBI. El daño es entonces casi igual al de la Gran Depresión –e igualmente doloroso, aun cuando el PBI real estadounidense actual es 12 veces mayor que el de 1929.

Cuando hablo con mis amigos en el gobierno de Obama, se defienden a sí mismos y al resultado macroeconómico de largo plazo estadounidense señalando que el resto del mundo desarrollado está mucho peor. Están en lo cierto. Europa desea desesperadamente que sus problemas se reduzcan al tamaño de los estadounidenses.

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