'This Week' Transcript: Tax Deal

AXELROD: But -- but there's -- but there's no doubt that what -- that it would be deleterious to the economy. Every economist has said -- look, almost every economist has raised their estimation of what our growth will be in 2011 based on this package.

AMANPOUR: So what will this package do?

AXELROD: Well, what it'll do is, in addition to putting money in the pockets of middle-class people that -- that they will spend and accelerate our economy, it includes some business tax cuts like one that will allow corporations and -- and small businesses to buy equipment in the next year and to further taxes on it. And that will spur investment and get some of -- there's $1.8 trillion sitting on the books of -- of corporations across this country. We want to get them in the game. This will help get them in the game.

AMANPOUR: And on the key issue of employment, unemployment, you've said that it's going to create millions of jobs.

AXELROD: Well, I haven't said it, but outside consultants, Mark Zandi, others, have said that, and there's -- there's no doubt that when you create economic growth, you also create hiring, and that -- that's our goal.

AMANPOUR: OK. And what about the big issue that appears to be on everybody's mind -- certainly the midterm elections spoke to it -- and that is the deficit and the debt? This is going to add another trillion dollars. So how do people take the administration seriously when they talk about trying to reduce the debt?

AXELROD: Christiane, first of all, understand that much of this was baked into people's computations because it's an extension of tax cuts that were already on the books. There were about $350 billion in new tax cuts, but they're all temporary.

AMANPOUR: But it adds more.

AXELROD: They're all temporary. And the biggest thing we can do to help right ourselves is to get robust economic growth. Without that, our -- our -- our deficit situation is going to be materially worse. So in the long term, these are not going to have impacts on our deficits. For the next few years, it will.

AMANPOUR: And the U.S. can live with that?

AXELROD: Well, I think that what the U.S. can't live without is robust economic growth, and that's what we're after. We want to see growth. We want to see hiring. We want to see people back to work.

AMANPOUR: Do you think you'll get the majority of Democrats on side?

AXELROD: I think we're going to get strong support on both sides of the aisle. I respect people who are unhappy. We share their view on the upper-income tax cuts, on the estate tax. That was a part of the deal, odious though it may be, in order to accept in order to get all the good things that come along with -- that's the nature of compromise.

So I'm sure there will be some who will have a hard time getting over that hump. Others will -- will see that this is extraordinarily important for our economy and for people across this country that we not let this get to a Washington-style standoff.

AMANPOUR: We'll be watching.

AXELROD: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, indeed, David Axelrod.

AMANPOUR: And now to one of the Administration's top foreign policy priorities: Middle East peace. But after two years of haggling, haranguing, and hoping, the Obama administration has little to show for its effort.

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