'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner


That's the underlying questions in terms of the budget and the deficit and health care as well, for that matter. And that's what we should be debating. He laid out a clear vision of the kind of country that he believes in, that I believe in, I think most Democrats, and for that matter, most Americans believe in. And it's a -- it's a fiscally responsible but also mutually responsible kind of community. And I support that.

DOWD: I -- to me, this whole budget fight demonstrates a complete abdication of responsibility by both political parties in this. Both political parties aren't willing to tell the truth to the American public in different ways.

The Republicans aren't willing to tell the truth to the American public that we don't have enough revenues to pay for everything that we have. The Democrats are unwilling to tell the truth to the American public that we cannot live anymore with the entitlement programs as they exist today. To me, the president -- he gives a good speech; he does all that; Republicans make these grand announcements, but in the end, they are unwilling to tell the American public the truth.

They keep telling the American public they can have it all and they don't have to pay for it. To me, the difference between the two political parties today is you have a Democratic Party that believes in big government that shouldn't be paid for, and you have a Republican Party that believes in a slightly less big government that shouldn't be paid for. That's the problem.

AMANPOUR: Let's go back to the Paul Ryan budget, which you worked on elements of. I just -- I know it's not exactly as it turns out.

RIVLIN: Oh, it isn't -- it isn't at all. I worked with one element. Paul Ryan and I have worked together on a concept for Medicare reform called premium support. It's very much like what they do in Governor Patrick's state. But the form in which Ryan put it in his budget was not the form that I support -- much, much lower and much more drastic cuts for seniors.

But I don't support the Ryan budget. I think it illustrates how much you'd have to cut if you don't raise taxes and you don't cut defense.

AMANPOUR: So you heard the argument with the Congresspeople, just in the previous segment, when they were talking about Medicare. And the whole idea is that, apparently, according to economists, that the elderly would have to contribute more of their own, under this reform. Is that sustainable?

RIVLIN: Some of the elderly will have to contribute more, particularly those in upper-income groups. Medicare, in its present form, is not sustainable. We -- it is growing faster than the economy is growing and faster than we can afford.

So we have to have a reform of Medicare, phased in gradually. It's not going to throw granny in the street. And I'm granny.


But it's got to reduce the rate of growth of Medicare. Now, the president's for that, too. He just has a different way of doing it.

PATRICK: Christiane, may I just build on that? Because I want to come back to Matt's, I think, really important points, although I want to differ with your -- with your outcome.

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