'This Week' Transcript: Timothy Geithner


ELLMERS: And I'm very much in favor of it. Again, we must save Medicare. We have a spending problem in this country, not a revenue problem.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, you raised revenue problem. Let me ask you too, congressmen Walsh and Southerland. The Ryan budget does not talk about raising revenues. President Obama's proposal does, eliminating tax cuts on the wealthy.

Can you really sustain what everybody is calling for just by cuts in public services? Doesn't there need to be revenue-raising mechanisms?

SOUTHERLAND: Go ahead, Joe.

WALSH: Christiane, you raise revenue by growing the economy. And everything this president has done the last two years has gone against that. You get taxes and regulations off the backs of businesses so that revenues can increase.

AMANPOUR: I know -- I know that that is your position. But there's so much evidence, even going back to Ronald Reagan, where he did tax cuts and in fact the debt increased, and then he had to make tax increases. I mean, can you really cut public spending by that amount and just expect to balance the budget?

WALSH: But -- and Steve will say this, in the '80s, government revenues went up. We didn't cut spending. Revenues went up in the '80s. Every time we've cut taxes, revenues have gone up, the economy has grown.

Look, Christiane, I've said this before, the president of the United States ought to be ashamed of himself. And I don't know why your profession hasn't gotten on him more. Two months ago he presents a budget and doesn't even talk about entitlement reform. And then all of a sudden last week he gets a redo?

The Republicans are leading on this, perfectly prepared to take whatever political hits we have to take, because the crisis is so severe. I wish he would be a part of this.

AMANPOUR: But that is an interesting point you made, about taking the hits that you have to take, because, for instance, there are all sorts of ads now, going out about Medicare, and being careful about it.

You know, the Republicans actually tried to put those ads out in 2010 and did get seniors on their side. So you're not concerned that these cuts and this restructuring of Medicare is actually not going to be good for you at the voting?

SOUTHERLAND: Well, listen, great leadership understands that sometimes you're going to take hits. And you don't make this decision -- you don't make decisions in the best interests of American people and expect to be applauded for everything you do.

Look, we have dug ourselves a hole and the only way that we can dig ourselves out or climb out of this hole is to make some very difficult decisions. I've said, numerous times here on the Hill, I may lose 2012, but I'm not going to lose me in this process.

And so we've got -- if we care about these programs, we have to make decisions now in order to save them.

AMANPOUR: All right. Well, thank you very much indeed, all of you, for joining us.

And up next, our powerhouse "Roundtable," with insight from Alice Rivlin, the Clinton budget director who helped Paul Ryan with his budget; political analysis from Matthew Dowd; President Obama's close friend, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and our own George Will. That's ahead.



OBAMA: These are the kinds of cuts that tell us we can't afford the America that I believe in and I think you believe in. I believe it paints a vision of our future that is deeply pessimistic.


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