¿Por qué las buenas políticas no son buenas compañeras de los políticos?

BERKELEY – Desde el día posterior al colapso de Lehman Brothers el año pasado, las políticas seguidas por el Tesoro de los Estados Unidos, la Reserva Federal de Estados Unidos y las administraciones de los Presidentes George W. Bush y Barack Obama han sido sólidas y útiles. La alternativa -hacerse a un lado y dejar que los mercados se ocuparan de todo- habría causado en Estados Unidos y el resto del mundo un desempleo más alto que el que ya existe. La facilitación del crédito y el apoyo al sistema bancario ayudaron de manera importante a que las cosas no empeoraran.

El hecho de que los bancos de inversiones no fueran a la quiebra el diciembre pasado y de que este año estén cosechando enormes utilidades es un tema secundario. Cada punto porcentual de desempleo adicional que dura dos años cuesta 400 mil millones de dólares. Una recesión el doble de profunda que la que tuvimos le habría costado cerca de 2 billones de dólares a Estados Unidos, y cuatro veces esa suma al mundo como un todo.

En comparación, los bonos en Goldman Sachs son un error de redondeo. Y cualquier intento de penalizar más a los banqueros de inversión en el otoño e invierno últimos habría puesto en peligro toda la operación de recuperación. Como dijera el Vicepresidente de la Fed, Don Kohn, asegurar que unos pocos miles de banqueros de inversión reciban un justo castigo financiero no es un buen comienzo si eso pone en riesgo los empleos de millones de estadounidenses, y decenas de millones fuera de los Estados Unidos.

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