'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner Full Interview


STEPHANOPOULOS: The last couple of weeks, we've seen some good news in the economy. Oil and gas prices have begun to stabilize. And gas prices have actually gone down just a tick in the last couple of weeks.

Do you expect that trend to continue this year?

GEITHNER: I think it depends a lot on two factors. One is how strong growth is around the world. That's being -- the biggest factor that affects oil prices. And it affects -- and it depends on how events develop in the Gulf and with respect to Iran.

But you're right that there's been a little bit encouraging news recently, particularly because we've seen the supply of oil, because of actions that the Saudis have taken, and others, increase quite significantly. And that's helped calm prices in the oil markets. And that's pretty encouraging.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, the president and others have spoken about the possibility that the price could be even lower if spectators weren't forcing up the price. Former Congressman Joe Kennedy has -- has proposed a solution this week. I want to read part of it to you. He says that: "Federal legislation should bar pure oil speculators entirely from commodity exchanges in the United States and the United States should use its clout to get European and Asian markets to follow its lead, chasing oil speculators from the world's commodity markets."

He says that could bring the price of gas down $1 a gallon, knock 40 percent -- up to 40 percent off the cost of a barrel of oil.

Is that something you'd consider?

GEITHNER: Well, we're going to do everything we can to make sure these markets have the oversight and transparency you need and they can't be taken advantage of and aren't vulnerable to manipulation. Absolutely.

Now, we've already acted to close the biggest loopholes, the ones that Enron exploited, for example, a long time ago and other -- other traders have exploited to evade those basic protections.

And we'll do everything we can to make sure these markets, again, are not vulnerable to that kind of manipulation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Including a ban on pure speculation?

GEITHNER: Well, again, I haven't looked at those specific proposals, but we'll -- we'll make sure -- and we're going to be -- it's very important that the regulatory authorities in the United States are using the authorities we've given them and they've got the resources they need to make sure, again, that these markets have the kind of integrity and broad oversight that's necessary.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I know you told the president you plan on leaving office even if he is reelected. And I don't want to revisit that right now.

But I -- I -- just one question.

From what you've learned, what's the most important quality or qualification the next president, whoever he is, should look for in a Treasury secretary?

GEITHNER: That's a -- that's kind of a good question, but that's really a question for him. I've got some views on that, of course.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So just give me one.


GEITHNER: Well, I think it's very important that he has somebody who's willing to tell him the truth and, you know, help him do the tough things you need to do in these -- in these jobs.

But that sort of understates the magnitude of the challenge.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for your time this morning.

GEITHNER: Good to see you, George.

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