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¿La Fed está jugando a la política?

CAMBRIDGE – En su reciente debate con su oponente Hillary Clinton, el candidato presidencial republicano, Donald Trump, dijo enfáticamente que la presidenta de la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos, Janet Yellen, persigue motivaciones políticas. La Fed, sostiene Trump, está aplicando sobredosis de estímulo monetario para hipnotizar a los votantes y hacerles creer que la recuperación económica está en marcha.

No es una idea completamente descabellada, pero yo no veo que sea así. Si Yellen está tan decidida a mantener las tasas de interés congeladas, ¿por qué ha intentado promover en los últimos meses las tasas de más largo plazo al insistir en que la Fed probablemente aumente las tasas más rápido de lo que hoy cree el mercado?

Se sabe, por supuesto, que los banqueros centrales ayudan a los candidatos antes de las elecciones al permitir que aumente la inflación y al mantener el empleo en alza. Durante la campaña por la reelección del presidente Richard Nixon en 1972, el mandatario sermoneó duramente al presidente de la Fed, Arthur Burns, sobre la necesidad de sacar adelante la economía y así ayudarlo a derrotar a su rival demócrata, George McGovern. Nixon obtuvo una victoria resonante, pero las políticas de Burns ayudaron a desencadenar la inflación mundial de los años 1970 y trajeron aparejada la disolución del sistema de posguerra de tipos de cambio fijos. Los efectos a largo plazo fueron catastróficos.

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