Transcript: Timothy Geithner Interview with George Stephanopoulos

GEITHNER: Well, I think that -- our -- our view is still is that in small businesses, in particular, in some industries in some parts of the country, it's still very hard for them. And we're working very hard with the Congress to try to make sure we're doing additional things to make sure that small banks across the country can get access to capital from the government so they can better support their small business customers. So it's still very tough, because, again, there's amount of damage caused by this crisis. But generally, across the economy, it's much easier to borrow money to buy a car, to buy a house, to put your kid through college, municipal governments to raise money to finance school construction, not just large businesses, but businesses across the country.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We were talking about derivatives a moment ago. There's now a proposal to have movie futures traded. Do you think that's a good idea?

GEITHNER: No, I don't -- here's what I think about this, George. The financial sector will be creative and will innovate and will come up with products that meet some real need people have and to also come up with those products which are designed to help people bet on some basic outcome. That's going to happen. It's a necessary part of running a good financial system. But those things come with risks. And our job, our obligation is to make sure that we're reducing those risks, we can contain the damage when those financial innovations go awry. And again, you need the government equipped to do a better job earlier, preemptively, to limit the risks that come with innovation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So they shouldn't be banned?

GEITHNER: Well, you can't -- you can't stop innovation. You can't run a system where you have a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington trying to figure out what's risky and what's not, because the risk is they'll miss it, they'll be too late, or they'll overdo it. So the best thing we can do for the country is to make sure the system just has better protections in place when innovations go a little too far.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the one word you would use to describe the economy today?

GEITHNER: Stronger. Absolutely stronger. Again, encouraging signs of, really, across the economy of things in the better. Parts of the economy are really very strong. Technology. Manufacturing is getting better. You heard some very good news that G.M. is repaying the government, adding new jobs, a much stronger position than they -- than they were. And the automobile industry as a whole, just to give one example, has created more jobs in the last nine months than -- more rapidly than at any time in the last decade. So, again, because this is a lesson for the country and a lesson for future presidents, this president acted very quickly, with enormous force in doing things that were going to be unpopular. But because he moved so forcefully up front, the economy is stronger now than any of us expected. It's come back quicker and stronger than almost any of the major economies around the world. And, of course, we all recognize that it's still very tough. It's still a very tough economy out there. There's still enormous pain and damage out there across the country. And we have more work to do to heal what was damaged. It's going to take some time. But we're in a much stronger position today.

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