Geithner: Congress Must Act to Strengthen Economy

Wednesday, 05 Oct 2011 03:48 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says whether America falls victim to another recession depends on how Europe deals with its financial crisis and how Congress acts to strengthen the moribund economy. Geithner also told CNN’s Erin Burnett Tuesday that President Barack Obama’s embattled jobs plan can get Americans back to work.
Burnett asked Geithner whether industry leaders gathered by CNN — labeled the “Strike Team” — who say a recession is not necessarily in the nation’s future are correct in their prediction.

“I think they’re right but it depends really on two things: It depends first on how effective the Europeans are in dealing with their financial crisis, because that’s putting a severe burden on growth around the world, and it’s a very serious grave crisis,” Geithner said. “And so it depends importantly on what they do in Europe, but it also depends on our ability to get Congress to do something to make growth strong in the United States.

“Let me just say it is very important that Congress do things that are going to make the economy stronger now — we’re not growing fast enough — we’re very vulnerable to what’s happening in Europe,” he said. “You’ve seen growth slow around the world — unemployment is still very high in the United States and the overwhelming responsibility we all have is to do more now to strengthen the economy.”

Geithner said Obama’s American Jobs Act is “a very smart, very strong, very powerful package.”

“People may have better ideas — but we have not seen a plan that would do nearly as much for the economy, and be as effective and strengthening the economy, and getting more Americans back to work that has any chance of passing,” Geithner said.

Burnett said there was a 50-50 split among members of CNN’s “Strike Team” as to whether the job plan can be successful in reducing unemployment, with 10 saying yes and 10 no.

“Let me just say there’s no credible argument this plan wouldn’t create jobs,” Geithner said. “You know, remember every person who has a job in the United States today gets a substantial tax cut — that’s more money in their pockets at a time when most Americans are hurting still.

“Every business gets a tax cut, and they get a bigger tax cut if they hire an additional worker, they hire a veteran, or hire somebody long-term unemployed,” he continued. “In addition to that, there’s very smart sensible investments to help rebuild the country — the country repair schools, repair roads, repairs bridges.

“Those are like tax cuts, too, because what they do is they reduce the costs of businesses trying to compete in this global economy, Geithner said. “And without those actions the economy is going to be weaker, growth will be slower, more people will be out of work longer, and there’s no reason why we should accept that outcome.”

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