Today, Secretary Geithner
spoke to CNBC's Steve Liesman during a live television interview
broadcast from the Diplomatic Room of the Treasury Department where he
discussed the need to reach an agreement on the so called “fiscal-cliff” that
will strengthen the economy and support job growth. Discussing the President’s
plan to bolster the economy, strengthen the middle class and reduce our
deficits in a balanced way, the Secretary reiterated the Administration’s call
to Congressional leaders to agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest few and
work with the Administration toward a sensible, serious approach to cutting
Secretary Geithner: What we're trying to do is put in place a
comprehensive, balanced set of fiscal reforms that put us back on the path to
living within our means and create room for investing to make the economy
stronger, make sure we're protecting Medicare for future generations, and
forcing the government to use the taxpayers' resources more wisely.
In that context, you
have to have a significant amount of revenues. We don't see a way of doing it
that makes any sense or has any political viability without rates going up as
part of that deal. Again, the size of the problem in some sense is so large it
can't be solved without rates going up. I think there's a broad recognition of
that reality now.
If you listen
carefully to the talk not just in this town, but you hear what businesses and
investors say, I think there's broad recognition that rates are going to go up
as part of a deal. I think that's a welcome change. That's why I said I think
there's been some progress, and I think we're going to get there.
Secretary Geithner: Again, what we've said is that if Republicans
recognize this basic reality that rates are going to have to go up as part of a
balanced plan, then… we will be prepared to do a substantial amount of
meaningful reforms and savings on the spending side, including entitlements.
We're going to take a careful look at how to do that. We're going to want to
make sure we're protecting seniors, not just shifting more cost on to them. We
think there's room for movement on that side.
In addition, Secretary
Geithner explained why the debt limit and the threat of default cannot be used
to hold the economy hostage:
Geithner: I spend a lot of time
talking to investors in the United States, small businesses, large businesses.
I think there's very broad agreement with the position we're taking, which is
we are not prepared to have the American economy held hostage to threats that
Republicans will force the country to default on our obligations. That would be
a terrible thing for the financial security of the average American, for
businesses, for confidence around the world and the United States. We are not
prepared to put the economy through that. It makes no sense for them to try and
do that. Again, it's just too damaging. If you look back to what happened the
summer of 2011, you can just see how damaging that was at that time. We're not
going to make the American people pay the price again for a group of minority
Republicans that say they want to threaten to default occasionally.
Before the interview
concluded, the Secretary reiterated the President’s commitment to reducing the
deficit in a way that helps grow the economy through sensible investments in
things like education and infrastructure:
Geithner: Again we're trying to make
sure we're doing something that's going to be good for economic growth in the
country in the interest of the average American. So we think as part of a
balanced framework, we think there's going to be some room to make some
investments in education and infrastructure, things that are good for the
long-term growth prospects of this economy. We're going to look at the overall
mix through that basic prism about what's going to be good for economic growth
here in the United States.
Anthony Reyes is the New Media Specialist at the U.S.
Department of the Treasury.