As Prepared for
WASHINGTON – Mr.
President, it has been a privilege to serve in your Administration these last
four years. I am honored and grateful
that you invited me to do this. I am
very proud of what my colleagues at Treasury and your economic team were able
to help you accomplish under your leadership during your first term.
When you stepped into this building as President, you were
confronted with a world in crisis, the worst economic crisis in
generations. You made the necessary, the
hard, and the politically perilous choices that saved the American people and
American industry from a failing financial system. Your successful response to the crisis did
not solve all of our economic challenges.
It could not have done so. But
the actions you took, along with those of a forceful and creative Federal
Reserve, have made the country stronger and put us in a much better position to
face the many challenges still ahead of us.
I have the greatest respect for Jack Lew. I know him as a man of exceptional judgment;
calm under pressure; with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and
experience over decades at the center of U.S. economic policy. He is committed to defending the safety net
for the elderly and the poor; he understands what it takes to create the
conditions for stronger economic growth and broader economic opportunity; and
he understands that to govern responsibly is to govern with a recognition that
we have limited fiscal resources.
Like Jack, I have spent my professional life in this world
of public policy and public service. As
you all know, our families carry a large share of the burdens we assume serving
in public life. I feel incredibly
fortunate that my wife, Carole, and my family have been willing to allow me to
do this. I thank them for their support
and patience and understand their occasional impatience.
I want to express my admiration and appreciation for the
women and men of the Treasury Department, those who came to serve you as
President during these years of crisis, and the civil servants, with whom I
started working in 1988. They are
exceptionally talented and honorable public servants. I am very proud of what they have helped you
accomplish. And I am confident that my
successor will find them the extraordinary asset they are to the country.
I hope that Americans will look at the challenges we face
today and decide, as many of you in this room have, that in spite of the
divisive state of our political system, serving your country is compelling and
rewarding work. That was my experience,
and I will always be grateful to the President for having given me the
opportunity to serve my country as its 75th Secretary of the Treasury.