Summers Stresses Country Must Summon Confidence to Stop Recession

"We saw half a dozen of them from the previous administration. It's just that they were different each month. The approach that Secretary Geithner has taken, is an approach that is based on deeds and not words."

In the last 18 months, Summers noted, $50 trillion in global wealth has been lost. Earlier today, the government announced that the nation's trade deficit had dropped to $36 billion in January, a six-year low. To reverse this global recession, Summers echoed Geithner's calls for major countries to engage in and sustain stimulus efforts, just hours before the G-20 meeting of finance ministers kicks off tonight in England.

"There are probably some for whom it would be imprudent, but for a very substantial majority of the world economy there is room for temporary fiscal expansion," he said.

Summers touted the administration's $787 billion stimulus package, citing 14,000 teaching jobs that may be saved in New York alone.

"We've done more in weeks than is often done in the face of financial crisis in years," he said, quoting Geithner.

"Our single most important priority is bringing about economic recovery and ensuring that the next economic expansion, unlike its recent predecessors, is fundamentally sound and not driven by financial excess," Summers said.

One way that the administration will crack down on excess is regulatory reform measures, as outlined Tuesday by Federal Reserve Board chief Ben Bernanke and Wednesday by Geithner ahead of this weekend's U.K. summit.

"Globally the United States must lead a leveling-up of regulatory standards, not, as has happened all too often, in the recent past, trying to win a race to the bottom," Summers said today. "No substantially interconnected institution or market, on which the system depends, should be free from rigorous public scrutiny. Required levels of capital and liquidity must be set, with a view towards protecting the system, even in very difficult times. And there must be far more vigorous and serious efforts to discourage improper risk taking, through transparency and accountability for errors."

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