Geithner: Health Care Bill Good for the Long Haul

"This is going to be a challenge for us, but this is something we can do," he continued. "And in many ways, we're in a better position to manage through these things than is true for other major -- and you see that in how investors are treating the United States today, because you see relative confidence really very high, despite the challenges we face."

Despite fears that some of the country's biggest foreign investors, such as China and Japan, would reduce their holdings of U.S. government debt, thus far, those fears have not materialized.

"No one is going to care more about this than the president and me," Geithner said. "We both understand deeply how important it is that Americans understand, investors understand around the world that we will have the will as a country to bring those deficits down when the economy is on a self-sustaining recovery.

"As the economy recovers, tax revenues will go up, we'll spend less on unemployment insurance, things like that," he noted. "That'll help bring the deficit down quite -- quite dramatically, but we'll have to do more things than just wait for recovery."

Asked if this would mean lower spending and higher taxes, the Treasury boss replied, "It'll have to bring…the resources and our commitments more into balance."

With the Christmas holiday just days away, Geithner told Stephanopoulos what is on his wish list.

"I think Americans should go into the holidays and into next year with more hope, with more hope about the future, because they can now -- and you see it in how they're behaving and acting," Geithner said.

"You can see now the beginnings of that process of healing, confidence gradually improving, and that's something we want to work very hard to reinforce."

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