Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner today put much of the blame of the nation’s slow economic recovery on Republicans in Congress.
If President Barack Obama had had “more support from his opponents in Congress, then we could have got more things passed that would have put more people back to work more quickly,” Geithner said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The Treasury secretary, making the rounds on the Sunday talk show circuit the day before Tax Day, added that “the actions the president took, at considerable political cost at that time — as you know, he had no support for them, from the Republicans — were incredibly effective in preventing a great depression, getting growth restarted again very, very quickly.”
Geithner also said the administration is making a lot of progress in the areas that caused the 2008 crisis, including “bringing down risk in the financial system, working through the housing problems. And consumers are bringing down those debt burdens. And those are all very encouraging things for the strength of the economy going forward.”
Sticking to a theme of taxation, “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos said that impending tax increases coming at year’s end are being dubbed “Taxmageddon” and asked Geithner how worried he and the president are that Congress won’t extend current tax cuts, including those for the middle class, before Dec. 31.
“There’s no reason that has to happen,” Geithner said. “And, of course, we’d sign, today, an extension of the middle-class tax cuts that go to 98 percent of Americans just to protect for them today, protect them against any risk that — that the politicians in Washington can’t — can’t come together on this by the end of the year.”
If they can’t agree on an extension before the November elections, then Members have a “very strong incentive to come together in the lame-duck session and put in place a balanced package of fiscal reforms over the long run, to prevent that kind of damage to the economy,” Geithner added.
The economy continues to be a dominant theme on the presidential campaign trail, too. Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod defended the president’s position against the budget proposal of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and said on “Fox News Sunday” it represents “the wrong direction for this country” in part because it would result in more cuts to social safety nets.
Axelrod also defended the “Buffett Rule,” a proposal the president backs that would require households with adjusted gross incomes of more than $2 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.
He acknowledged that it, alone, would not undo the nation’s deficit but called it “part of an overall plan that will stabilize our debt and deficit.”
Following news reports that the president paid a tax rate of a little more than 20 percent, less than his secretary, Axelrod indicated the president had no intention of donating extra money to the Treasury, saying that’s not how the tax system works and that it’s the larger system Obama seeks to change.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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