'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner


AMANPOUR: And yet, your very close ally, Britain, is in a year or more of its austerity program, and the results don't look great. Retail sales are plunging, income looks like it's going down. I mean, that can't give you a lot of confidence, can it, on this austerity program?

GEITHNER: We're in fundamentally different positions, the U.K. and the United States. Their challenges are much greater challenges. They had a much larger hole to dig out, a much larger financial system they had to reform, and they have a much harder road ahead of them.

We're in a fundamentally stronger position. And although we have to move too to reduce our deficits, I'm very confident, if we do it in a balanced way, that you can do this without putting at risk this expansion. You have to do it gradually.

And again, this is why you want to do it over a multi-year period of time.

AMANPOUR: A lot of views this week, a lot of disappointment among many people that many of those big bankers and financial institutions responsible for the financial crisis have still not been prosecuted, punished.

I mean, how does that bring confidence to the American people?

GEITHNER: Well, let me just say, I agree that you saw a -- really a huge loss of confidence in the average American in our financial system and how it works, whether it protects them from abuse, whether it's a fair system with the kind of integrity you need. And financial systems require trust and confidence. And you saw in this crisis just terrible mistakes, devastating loss of confidence.

AMANPOUR: Do you think that some of these people should have been at least prosecuted, punished?

GEITHNER: You know, that's really a question for my colleagues in the enforcement --


AMANPOUR: I know it is. I know it's not your job. But in terms of trying to build confidence in the American people?

GEITHNER: I'll tell you what I think. I think two things are very important. One is, we have to have a more stable system. We have to have a system that provides better protection for consumers and investors, and that's what we're building. That's what Congress passed, and that's really my job, to make sure that happens.

But that is not enough. You also have to have confidence in the American people that our enforcement authorities will hold people accountable, make sure they abide by those rules.

You need both those two things, and we're starting to rebuild that. And I'm very confident that we're going to be -- do a better job and be ahead of the rest of the world in doing that.

AMANPOUR: So you've had a pretty rough couple of years. It's been a pretty thankless job in the -- trying to get out of this recession in a fragile recovery now. Secretaries Clinton and Gates have said they won't be around for a second term. Will you?

GEITHNER: I got a lot on my plate still, and we've got a lot of challenges ahead. And I want to tell you, this is hard, but I believe in this work and I enjoy these challenges.

AMANPOUR: So you'll stay.

GEITHNER: Well, again, not going a -- I'm going to keep at trying to fix what's broken here, make sure we're helping get the economy growing and help deal with these long-term challenges.

AMANPOUR: Secretary Geithner, thank you very much, indeed.

GEITHNER: Nice to see you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.


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