Transcript: Diane Sawyer Interviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

GEITHNER:
I -- I do. I have -- I know a lot of people who have lost their jobs. I think we all know people who've been touched by this. And again, that's why these crises are so tragic. And so unfair. Is because they cause just indiscriminate damage. People, again, who were careful, thoughtful, were doing important things. I mean, get -- get caught up in these things. And that's why, again, governments have to do forceful, exceptional things to fix the problem.

SAWYER:
And I come back to it. Is there something new you can tell people about that will stimulate jobs? Whether it is n -- a new kind of tax incentive to companies to hire?

GEITHNER:
Diane, the -- the Recovery Act was designed as a two year program. So, a large part of its initial effects, in terms of the tax cuts, money for states, unemployment benefits happened right away. But a large part of the benefits that'll be helpful for employment are only starting, only started the last two months.

So, the programs to improve infrastructure, for example, are just getting underway. And you're going to see a sustained period of time where those add to growth. And that's why economists now, many economists, although as I said, they don't know that much about the future. Many economists now think the economy's d -- going to be growing -- at a significantly positive rate next year.

SAWYER:
In all of this, what's been the bleakest moment for you?

GEITHNER:
August of 2007 was very dark, but without a doubt, a year ago today, was the -- was the darkest moment. As I said, when -- when we began, at that time, for the first time, really, in -- in almost a century, Americans were wondering whether banks were safe. Whether they could keep their savings in banks. And I think those fears today no longer exist, because of the strength of the actions that both my predecessor and this President have -- have helped put in motion.

SAWYER:
What do you do when you're afraid?

GEITHNER:
Diane, what I do -- is -- I figure out what we can do to fix it. My view is our job, and that's for people in jobs like this, our job is to figure out what can we do to help protect the future of financial security of the American People. How can we move as quickly as possible to repair the damage, get things better? That's what I do.

SAWYER:
Part of this anxiety, sincere and genuine anxiety as you look at the dollar, which has your name on it now. And -- that the climb of the dollar internationally is terrify --

GEITHNER:
It's not -- it's not -- we have a strong dollar. We're going to have a strong dollar. I think the dollar's going to be -- remain the principle reserve asset in the count -- in the -- in the globe for a long -- for a long tie to come.

SAWYER:
But when China is right now holding our IOUs. When we are looking to the Chinese to be nice to us --

GEITHNER:
We're not -- we're not --

SAWYER:
-- on credit.

GEITHNER:
-- looking to the Chinese to be nice to us.

< b>SAWYER:
To be --

GEITHNER:
We're --

SAWYER:
-- steadfast, anyway.

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