TAPPER: Secretary Geithner thanks for joining us. Good to see you.
So, the administration has had a number of successes after big battles, stimulus, health care legislation, new rules for Wall Street, but you have a big battle coming when it comes to the Bush tax cuts.
If they remain in place, as Republicans want, it will cost three trillion dollars every ten years. The administration has said it wants to keep the ones for people who make under $200,000 a year, individuals and $250,000 for couples.
That will cost $2.5 trillion over 10 years.
Ben Bernanke the chairman of the Federal Reserve said that with the economic outlook unusually uncertain, extending the Bush tax cuts would have a stimulative effect on the economy. Is he right?
GEITHNER: I don't think it should be a battle, Jake. You know, what the President's proposing to do is to leave in place, to extend tax cuts that go to more than 95 percent of working Americans and to leave in place tax cuts that are very important to incent businesses to hire new pe -- new employees and to invest in expanding output.
We think that's a -- the -- it's a very strong package. We think it's the right package. We think it's fair. We think it's responsible.
Now, we also think it's responsible to let the tax cuts expire that just go to 2 percent to 3 percent of Americans, the highest earning Americans. We think that's the responsible thing to do because we need to make sure we can show the world that they're willing as a country now to start to make some progress bringing down our long -- our long-term deficits.
TAPPER: Don't you think it will slow economic growth?
GEITHNER: No. Just letting those tax cuts that only go to 2 percent to 3 percent of Americans, the highest earning Americans in the country expire. I do not believe it will have a negative effect on growth.
TAPPER: This package that you're talking about pushing in Congress to -- to save the Bush tax cuts for people under $200,000 individuals and 250 for couples --
GEITHNER: And in fact, we go beyond that. Because you know, we're proposing to extend the make or pay tax cut which also goes to 95 percent of working Americans. And a set of very important business tax cuts targeted for small businesses themselves, expensing, zero capital gains rate for investment in small businesses. These things, we think, are very helpful, very powerful.
TAPPER: And when are you talking about pushing that into Congress?
GEITHNER: Congress is on the verge of what we hope will be enactment of a very strong package of tax measures for small businesses and ways to help them get credit so they can expand.
TAPPER: So, before the election?
GEITHNER: Oh, absolutely.
TAPPER: A number of Senate democrats, moderate Senate democrats have said that they oppose repealing or allowing to expire the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans that they think that would be harmful to growth.
Are you guys going to have the votes to get through the package you want which is focused more on middle and lower income America?
GEITHNER: Oh absolutely. I believe we will.
TAPPER: Some in the administration and internal discussions are talking about maybe just keeping all the Bush tax cuts for a year or two. Those aren't -- that's not going to happen?