Sec. Geithner on Debt Deal: Don’t Know If We Will Avoid Downgrade

Aug 1, 2011 8:41pm

That’s what Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told me when I asked if a credit rating downgrade is more likely because of the way the long, drawn-out process unfolded in Washington.  

“I don’t know. It’s hard to tell. I think this is a good result but a terrible process,” he said. “And again, again, as the world watched Congress step up to the edge of the abyss it made them really wonder whether this place can work.”  

Geithner called the debt deal “a good agreement” and said it benefits the economy in the “long term” because it will force Congress to make tough choices.  

But what about the short term? I asked him how he responds to critics that say it could cost American jobs.  

“No, it will not,” he told me.  

Will it create jobs for some of the 25 million Americans looking for work?  

“No, this agreement itself, on its own, doesn’t create jobs,” he said. “What it does is it avoids doing more damage in the short term, because the president refused to accept the types of deep spending cuts that many in congress wanted, and it, by locking in some long term savings it raises, it improves the odds over time.” 

Tune into “GMA” tomorrow morning at 7am for more of my interview with the Treasury Secretary.

–George Stephanopoulos

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