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Episode #11

How Serious Is the Barclays LIBOR Scandal?

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Former Barclays Chief Executive Bob Diamond leaves a Parliament hearing on July 4, 2012 in London, England. (Matthew Lloyd/Getty)

Heads are rolling at the British bank Barclays after it admitted to rigging a key interest rate known as the LIBOR — short for "London Interbank Offered Rate."

It’s an interest rate banks charge when they borrow from one another, and it matters because by some reports, about $800 trillion in loans, securities and other contracts are tied to it.

Many adjustable rate mortgages, including some in the United States, are indexed to LIBOR. So if the rate goes up, so could your monthly payments.

Elected officials and regulators want to know if other banks are involved? And pundits are asking why aren't Americans more outraged?

Megan McArdle of Newsweek and Joe Nocera of the New York Times weigh in on how serious the LIBOR scandal is and what effect it's having on the economy.

Meanwhile, there are just five unemployment reports until the presidential election in November. Economists (and journalists) pounce on the economic indicator when it's released each month, but is it really the best measure of how the economy is faring?

Plus, a look at what will make news in the weeks ahead.

Guests:

Megan McArdle and Joe Nocera

Hosted by:

Jeff Greenfield

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