'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

You and I know that the money, as Willie Sutton says, said, that -- why do you rob banks? Because that's where the money is. The money is in entitlement programs: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, things that you do not touch in this budget.

The fact that you need a bipartisan commission to recommend cuts or tax increases, doesn't that indicate that our political system is incapable of making these tough decisions?

GEITHNER: Jake, I am very confident in our ability as a country to bring people together and make sure we are solving these challenges and these problems. We've done it in the past, it is completely within our capacity to do as a country.

But of course, it requires you bringing people together across the aisle to step back from politics, to try to bring practical solutions to things that are very important to our future as a country. And the president is committed to do that.

We're going to give the Republican Party the chance to share in the responsibility and the burden and the privilege of trying to fix the things that were broken in this country.

TAPPER: Republicans are afraid this is just a back door for tax increases. Are you willing to say that tax increases are off the table for this commission? Let's sit down and talk about the long-term structural problems with entitlement spending?

GEITHNER: The president's view, and this is a view shared by many Republicans, and it builds on what we've seen with effective commissions in the past, like the Greenspan commission that President Reagan established to help restore the financial footing of Social Security, is that for this to work, you've got to bring people together to step back from politics, day-to-day politics, and to bring fresh ideas to solve these kind of problems.

That's the only way to do it, we think. And we're committed to doing that. We've got to do it on a bipartisan basis, and we're deeply serious about doing this.

TAPPER: The president, during his State of the Union address, also talked about a deficit of trust, the fact that Americans don't trust government.

OBAMA:"We have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now; we face a deficit of trust. Deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works."

TAPPER: Whether it's at your -- your time as head of the New York Fed, your time dealing with AIG, or your time as Treasury Secretary, do you think that you bear any responsibility for that deficit of trust?

GEITHNER: Oh, I -- let me just say that I feel very proud for the actions we took to help to stem the damage caused by this crisis. And I feel it's a great privilege to have been able to work with this president to move so quickly and effectively to again -- to bring an economy that was in free fall -- a financial system at the edge of collapse, and to begin the process of healing.

But we all recognize, and I deeply recognize that we have a lot more work to do. And we are working very hard to make sure that the American people understand that we're going to make sure they don't bear a penny of loss for solving this financial crisis. Again we've brought back a huge amount of the money that the government was forced to put in the financial system.

And we are working very hard right now to try to make sure we put in place strong reforms that provide basic protections to Americans from ever again facing this kind of crisis again.

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