'This Week' Transcript: Geithner

ROBERTS: But, of course, the one number that matters is the unemployment number. I mean, that is the number that everybody really cares about. And -- and the president himself is now saying, again, expected to get to 8 percent or lower until maybe the end of 2012.

And that -- you know, that then becomes not only a dampening -- have a dampening effect on the economy, but that becomes...

(CROSSTALK)

DONALDSON: There are two commissions...

ROBERTS: ... political problem.

DONALDSON: ... running right now, the presidential commission appointed and a private one with Pete Domenici and Alice Rivlin that are looking at this problem of our debt and our economic situation, and both of them say, by the end of the year when they report, we're going to be stunned by the projections for this country if we don't start cutting unnecessary expenses and getting hold of the debt.

ROBERTS: Well...

TAPPER: It's not just unnecessary expenses. Some of them are necessary expenses. It's Medicare and Social Security.

(CROSSTALK)

DONALDSON: ... building a second engine for a fighter that the Defense Department says is unnecessary?

ROBERTS: Well, you know perfectly well, Sam, that that doesn't save you any money. I mean, you start...

DONALDSON: Oh, a few billion.

ROBERTS: You could close down this Capitol or turn it into condos and you could close down every domestic program that we have and you'd still have a deficit because of Social Security, Medicare...

DONALDSON: That's defense spending.

ROBERTS: ... and interest on the national debt.

BRAZILE: And the loss of revenues. I mean, this recession has taken a bite out of the economy. We're not collecting money, so we need to...

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: Particularly on capital gains.

BRAZILE: That's right.

HAYES: Which -- which is why the single most important thing the government can do right now is get out of the way of private-sector growth. And raising taxes in a recession on whomever is, I think, one of the most foolish things you could possibly do at this time.

And, look, the administration implicitly buys the argument that raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea. You've heard administration officials articulate this before, and it's behind what they did in the original stimulus with the tax cuts.

(CROSSTALK)

DONALDSON: So sign on to the idea that now it's a bad idea, but at some point we're going to come out of this recession.

TAPPER: Well, there is -- and there are voices in the administration...

(CROSSTALK)

DONALDSON: ... and now they raised them, OK?

TAPPER: ... talking about -- there are people in the administration talking about maybe just keeping the Bush tax cuts in place for everyone for a year longer...

ROBERTS: Well, that's what you were saying.

TAPPER: ... or not, but Geithner said no.

DONALDSON: But a trigger. Otherwise the Congress will never come back and say...

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: ... have the same debate -- have the same debate in two years.

BRAZILE: I'm going to be like the Republicans for 30 seconds. How do we pay for it? How do we pay for it? We know that the Bush tax cuts is one of the driving forces...

(CROSSTALK)

HAYES: It is -- it is part of it, but that's on static scoring. If you look at what it does for economic growth, you could argue that you'll make up some of the revenues...

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