Geithner: US Should Have Responded Faster on Financial Crisis

Wednesday, 14 May 2014 09:21 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the government should have responded faster to address the country's financial crisis that President Barack Obama faced as he took office in 2009.

The Great Recession, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, had affected housing, banking and other industries. Stock prices plunged and major banks faced a crisis.

"In retrospect, if we had full knowledge, full foresight at that time, I think what we should have done is to make sure at that point we could have escalated much more quickly to prevent the panic from spreading," Geithner told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday.

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Geithner said while the administration "ultimately" addressed the situation, he explained "it took a lot more work, because the fire was burning too hot at that point."

The crisis proved to be "a great moment for the United States," Geithner said, as officials from both the Republican and Democratic parties "basically put politics aside" in order to "do what was necessary to help pull the country back from the abyss."

"We passed that test much better than other governments who sat there, were paralyzed by their politics, or played politics with the crisis. [It was] a pretty good moment for the U.S.," he said.

During the crisis, Geithner said the nation's economy was "right at the edge" as "people were talking about burying gold in their backyards."

"You could hear panic and fear in the voice of the leaders of the largest, strongest corporations of the world at that time," he said.

Geithner detailed the events in his new book, "Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises." It is a behind-the-scenes look at how policymakers prevented a second Great Depression.

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