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Congress Hijacks Ben Bernanke Testimony With Libor Questions
CNBC.com | July 17, 2012 | 03:56 PM EDT

Don't know if you've listened to the Ben Bernanke testimony , but it has been a strange one. Strange because Mr. Bernanke was pelted by questions on Libor — and I don't mean one, I mean many.

There have even been some vague questions asking why U.S. regulators, including himself, weren't more aware of what was going on. (See - NetNet: Congress, Not the Fed, Should 'Get to Work' )

Why the obsession with Libor when the country is in a serious economic crisis?

To some extent, it can be framed as a populist issue. "Congress is 'protecting' its constituents," one trader said to me. " Libor affects our borrowing rates and even mortgage rates."

That's true, but a larger answer is simple politics. Here's another way to show that: 1) regulators (under the Obama administration) have been asleep at the wheel, and 2) the financial community is a never-ending source of corruption.

And putting a focus on Libor is also a way of deflecting the Congress' inaction on the fiscal cliff. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said as much during his questions. Notice how the fiscal cliff did not come up that often, even though Bernanke mentioned it several times: the "recovery could be endangered by the confluence of tax increases and spending reductions that will take effect early next year if no legislative action is taken."

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