Geithner said that Obama’s plan represents “the best mix of policies” for promoting short-term economic growth and cutting long-term debt. He also said that Europe will follow “lessons” of the U.S. crisis.
“We’ve got to try and work through it,” Geithner said, when asked about House Speaker John Boehner’s comments on Obama’s tax plan and avoiding gridlock in the super committee. “I think you’ve heard Republicans and Democrats say that we’ve got unsustainable deficits. We should do more to help the economy in the near term,” Geithner said. “The president’s laid out some proposals for doing that. And we think they’re good ideas. We think they’re good economics. We think they’re better for the economy than the alternatives. And we’re going to try to get them done.”
When asked by Goldman why Americans shouldn’t see Obama’s tax plan as a political statement as we head into the election year, he said the president is asking himself, “What do we think is the best for growth in the short term so more Americans get back to work?,” adding that it’s “fairest, most sensible way” to bring down the long-term deficits, create some room for investments and things that make us stronger in the future.
“Now, we’ve laid out a detailed proposal for doing those two things to help the economy right now, help strengthen growth over the long run,” Geithner said. “Now there are some other ideas out there, and we’re going to have a debate about what makes sense for the country. But I think there’s broad recognition across the political spectrum that we can’t just push off the deficit problem forever. It’s something we got to deal with now. And if we can deal with it sooner, it’ll be better for confidence in the United States.”
Turning to the so-called Buffet Rule, named for billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s proposal that those individuals making over $1 million pay at least the same percentage of income in tax as ordinary wage earners, Geithner responded: