'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

So, we can take it out of the providers. I'm all for doing as much of that as possible. That's what we have been doing. There's a limit to how much of that we can do. Then you have to say yourself, do you want to pay more in taxes for Medicare or do you want to adjust the benefit's eligibility, means test it so wealthier people don't get all those benefits, something on that side, otherwise the numbers won't work.

ELLISON: Well, I don't see want to see Medicare turn into a welfare program which is what it would be if wealthier people didn't benefit from it or had a significantly reduced benefit. It needs to be something shared that Americans are all in, that we all participate in and we all contribute to. So I think it's a strong program.

As a matter of fact, though Steve, think about the fact that when we did the Affordable Care Act, we actually lengthened the life of the program. We can do more things like that. I mean, let's continue down that road?

ROBERTS: We talked a lot about demographics this year because of the election. And when we look at Medicare that's where the problem comes up. There's just not enough young people to support all of the old people. And they're getting to be fewer young people. I mean, what we're seeing right now is that our immigrant populations are producing fewer children. And so it is really not possible to keep this level of support.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, unless you control -- there are other ways to control costs as well. I think that's what (inaudible) debate is.

ROBERTS: But, the problem with controlling costs you can only do that to some degree. Every single year we go back and do the "doc" fix. In fact, we'll do it between now and January 1 again. And that is always a phony thing...

STEPHANOPOULOS: It raises payments to the doctors.

ROBERTS: That congress says is their going to cut payments to doctors and doctors pull out of the Medicare program. And congress...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And it is restored, absolutely...

SENOR: It's very hard to do this without structural reforms.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about the taxes...

ELLISON: If I may, if you don't mind -- look, we are seen people's retirement package reduced. We have seen people's individual savings, their employment related retirement savings go down, you know, you cannot keep on seeing 401(k)s go down and savings rates go down and then say we're going to cut the other stuff that people can count on. I mean, we've go to make some...

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is going to be the...

RATTNER: The numbers have to work. You've got to get the numbers to work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to turn to the tax debate as well, because...


STEPHANOPOULOS: You guys are sitting back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get to the tax debate. You have seen Speaker Boehner, other Republicans say, we'll really have more revenues, but this drawing the line on tax rate increases and Grover Norquist has come out hard again of course saying Republicans have to stand by the pledge.


GROVER NORQUIST, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: If Republicans lose in such a way they got their fingerprints on the murder weapon then you have a problem. I mean, Bush couldn't run again in 1992 successfully because he had his fingerprints on a very bad deal, which was bad on spending and bad on taxes and he broke his word.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Is he right about those politics?

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