Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fix the deficit first, Bernanke tells U.S. politicians


Over the course of almost four hours of testimony at the House financial committee yesterday, Mr. Bernanke was asked more about the country's record deficit and debt than any other subject, putting him in the middle of a debate that Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican opponents in Congress appear eager to have but unwilling to resolve.

Mr. Bernanke stepped gingerly around queries that reflected the challenges of a country struggling to escape recession, yet were often political traps rigged to manipulate Mr. Bernanke into embarrassing one side or the other.

Seeking neutral ground, the Fed chief said it was "very, very important" that the administration and Congress come up with a credible plan to deal with the $1.6-trillion (U.S.) deficit. He stressed that the effort would pay immediate dividends by easing the minds of the investors who finance the government's operations.

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