Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Alan Greenspan

GEITHNER: I think that's something we're very focused on. Again, we need recovery to be built on private demand, private spending, businesses taking a chance again in the American economy, putting investments to work, starting to rebuild their employment base. That's the ultimate test for recovery. And the very important thing for us is to make sure we're sticking with this until we're very confident we have a strong, private sector-led recovery in place.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And what are you looking at that would give you some cause of concern that we could slip back?

GEITHNER: Well, I don't think you can make that -- see that risk now. Again, and the stimulus program and what we've done in the financial sector are designed to have a sustained impact, again, because the damage we had done to our economy was so great, it was just going to take a long, sustained effort.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that means unemployment, as you said, pretty high, at least through the rest of this year. At the same time we're seeing reports said up to 1.5 million people could be losing their unemployment benefits by the end of this year.

Does that mean that the administration is going to have to look at extending unemployment benefits again?

GEITHNER: I think that's something the administration and Congress are going to look very carefully at as we get closer to the end of this year. And that's going to be one important thing to look at.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We already know that a million-and-a-half people are going to lose their benefits, don't we?

GEITHNER: Yes. Again, I think the most important thing we need to make sure people understand is working with the Congress, we're going to make sure we do enough to bring this economy back.

But, you know, our job is not just to repair the damage done to this economy, bring growth back, we need to make sure that we're making the kind of investments that are going to build a more productive economy, gains of growth more broadly shared.

And that's why it's so important, as we focus on recovery, we're making investments in health care reform, in education, in infrastructure, fixing our financial system, the kind of things we're working on right now.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I did want to get to that. And as we pull out of the recession, the other big worry going forward is deficits. You heard that from the Chinese this week. Our next guest, Alan Greenspan, has warned this as well.

And Senator Charles Grassley, the Republican ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee has cited CBO estimates, Congressional Budget Office estimates, that your budget will add $9 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.


SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R-IA), RANKING MEMBER, FINANCE COMMITTEE: Our debt, as a percentage of the economy, will grow in excess of 80 percent, a level also that has not been seen since this country was in World War II.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is a very, very high level. And I know you believe that passing health care is essential to getting the deficit under control, but independent analysts also say that even with that, you're going to have to find new government revenues.

The former deputy treasury secretary, Roger Altman, said: "It is no longer a matter of whether tax revenues must increase, but how." Is he right?

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