Paul Lachine

¿Por qué no funciona la recuperación de Estados Unidos?

CAMBRIDGE – A medida que la economía se acerca a tropezones hacia el segundo aniversario de la quiebra de Lehman Brothers, el anémico crecimiento ha dejado al paro sumido en una cifra de cerca del10%, con pocas perspectivas de mejorar pronto. No debe sorprender, entonces, que ya  cerca de las elecciones del congreso en noviembre, en lo que marca la mitad del periodo presidencial, los estadounidenses se pregunten con enojo por qué las políticas de estímulo hiperagresivas del gobierno no han cambiado la situación. ¿Qué más se puede hacer, si es que lo hay?

La respuesta honesta, y una que pocos votantes desean escuchar, es que no hay varas mágicas. Tomó más de una década cavar el hoyo actual, y salir de él también tardará. Como Carmen Reinhart y yo advirtiéramos en nuestro libro sobre 800 años de historia de las crisis financieras (con el irónico título de "Esta vez es diferente"), una recuperación lenta y prolongada con un paro constante y sostenido es la norma tras las crisis financieras profundas.

¿Por qué es tan difícil impulsar el empleo después de una crisis financiera? Por supuesto, una razón es que el sistema financiero tarda en sanar y, en consecuencia, es necesario tiempo para que el crédito comience a fluir nuevamente. Destinar grandes cantidades de fondos de los contribuyentes a mastodontes financieros no soluciona el problema más profundo de deshinchar una sociedad sobreapalancada. Los estadounidenses tomaron dinero prestado y se fueron de compras hasta quedar sin aliento, en la creencia de que un mercado inmobiliario en ascenso constante limpiaría todo sus pecados financieros. El resto del mundo vertía dinero a EE.UU., haciendo parecer que la vida era nada más que una gran cena.

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