'This Week' Transcript: Geithner

GEITHNER: I don't believe it should and I don't believe it will. Again, because what the president's proposed is to make sure we're leaving them in place for the people that need the most and can make the most difference in helping make sure this economy comes back. That we heal the damage caused by this crisis.

TAPPER: Job creation has not gone as well as you hoped. What more can you do? I know there's this small business lending initiative. What more can you do given the lack of appetite on Capitol Hill for any spending programs? Any more stimulus?

GEITHNER: Well you know, the President's proposed a very strong package of help for small businesses which you just referred to. He'd support giving more support to states so they can keep teachers in the classroom.

TAPPER: Fifty billion dollars in emergency spending but the Congress has not acted on that.

GEITHNER: They haven't yet, but we can (inaudible) case for doing it. They're going to, we're going to keep at that. But right now, the best thing the government can do in addition to those things, is help create the conditions for the private sector to start to invest in hiring again.

Now, we've seen six months of positive job growth by the private sector. That's pretty good.

TAPPER: By the private sector.

GEITHNER: Pretty good this early in a recession.

TAPPER: Although you count in the public sector with the layoffs and the census jobs.

GEITHNER: But only because of census. But you know, what matters is -- is the private sector starting to hire people, add back hours and that's what's critical.

And you're seeing that happen now. Now we want it -- we want to see it happen at a faster pace. But I think most people understand that you know, this was a deep crisis. The scars ran very deep. Devastating damage. It's going to take time to repair that damage, take time to grow out of this. But we're making progress.

TAPPER: In 2009 when President Obama talked about unemployment insurance extensions he talked about how it was paid for. This time, it was not paid for, the $34 billion in unemployment insurance extensions became added to the national debt.

Republicans on Capitol Hill argued that they wanted to pay for it and they supported it but they just wanted it offset by spending cuts.

Given the fact that we're going to be -- we're going to have unemployment for the foreseeable future, high unemployment. Isn't it the fiscally responsible thing to do to not treat this as emergency spending but treat this as something we know is coming down the pike so we're not just laying this burden on our future generations?

GEITHNER: I don't think so. In a crisis that was this bad and a recession that was that deep. With this amount of lasting damage, scars from recovery, it's appropriate to treat these things as emergencies.

TAPPER: Many of the details on the Wall Street Reform Bill that President Obama just signed will be determined by regulators. In fact, the bill also gives more power to some regulators, some of the same ones who failed us the last time around.

Why should we be confident that they're going to get it right either with the rule making or next time there's a crisis?

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