'This Week' Transcript: Adm. Mike Mullen

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REICH: Yes, certainly. And the economy would be much worse were it not for everything the administration has done. But, again, it's hard to prove a negative. It's very, very difficult right now.

We look at the degree of anger and upset still there in the American economy, on Main Street. The Washington Post ran a survey not long ago showing that 53 percent of homeowners -- 53 percent -- are worried about paying their mortgage.

Now, this may be a good economy for Wall Street, it may be a good economy for the IPOs, it may be a good economy for the people in the top 1 percent whose assets are in financial instruments, but this is not a good economy yet for most people.

AMANPOUR: The economy is showing still slow signs of coming back. The job numbers keep getting incrementally better, but not enough to affect the 9.6 percent. Was it -- is it -- is it actually going to help?

LUCE: The G.M. IPO? Well, I mean, I think...

AMANPOUR: Well, and the -- and the -- the measures, as Warren Buffett said, that helped keep the economy from diving.

LUCE: Yes, but they're all in the system. They're out there. Nothing more other than what Ben Bernanke and the Fed is doing is going to be available in this political climate. And whether that will be enough to help, I think there are grounds for deep skepticism. I do think we're looking at a Japan-style situation here of low growth or at least the threat of that.

One thing I'd say about the G.M. IPO, just to back up Donna, is the counterfactual here. If G.M. had been -- had gone bankrupt and large portions of it had been closed down, we could have lost several hundred thousand jobs. The exaggerated number of 1 million might be too high.

The administration's communications effort on this has been absolutely abysmal. It's quite extraordinary to me how they haven't put this forward more forcefully and -- and how the public still doesn't see just how different a kind of bailout this was than the Wall Street bailouts, which remain deservedly unpopular.

AMANPOUR: Let me just play what Warren Buffett told us about taxes. Obviously, this is going to come up in this session of Congress, the Bush-era taxes, which either have to be extended or not. This is what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUFFETT: I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it.

AMANPOUR: They say you have to keep those tax cuts even on the very wealthy because that is what energizes business and capitalism.

BUFFETT: The rich are always going to say that, you know, "Just give us more money, and we'll go out and spend more, and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you." But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AMANPOUR: So what do you think is going to happen? Where will the compromise be? What is the tax situation going to look like?

WILL: I think we can all come together on raising Warren Buffett's taxes. He wants to pay more? Let's -- let's do it.

AMANPOUR: He wants to. He wants to.

WILL: Of course. All billionaires say it's of marginal importance...

(CROSSTALK)

AMANPOUR: ... in -- in -- in Seattle, by the Gates Foundation...

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