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CBS "Face the Nation" - Transcript


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BOB SCHIEFFER: And we welcome now to the broadcast the secretary of the treasury, Timothy Geithner. Mister Secretary, thank you so much for coming. Let's just get right to it. I think if we didn't realize before now that both sides think the women's vote is going to be crucial in this election, we certainly found it out in the last ten days. Governor Romney was on the stump with what he saw as some major headline news. Here's what he said:

MITT ROMNEY: The real war on women is being waged by the President's failed economic policies. This is an amazing statistic--the percentage of jobs lost by women in the President's three years-three and a half years, 92.3 percent of all the jobs lost during the Obama years have been lost by women, 92.3 percent.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So, is he right? Is that true?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER (Treasury Secretary): It's a ridiculous and very misleading way of looking at the recession. You know, you have to look at the whole duration of the recession. Recession started in 2008, early in that year. It was already a year in the making before President Obama came into office, and it was very damaging to everybody, to families, men and women across the country. And the early job losses were felt mostly by men because they-- they happened in construction, in manufacturing across the economy. And as the crisis intensified over the course of the way and signal for government started to feel the pressure, they had to cut back on teachers. A lot of women are teachers. So you saw the later effects as this crisis spread spread to women, too. But of course it was very damaging to families.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Basically, you're saying that is right, that most of the jobs that have been lost recently have been lost by women.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: But it's a-- it's a meaningless way to look at the basic contours of the economy that period of time again because it starts artificially at a time when the President came into office and the crisis was still building momentum. You know, as you know, the economy was shrinking at an annual rate of nine percent, in a worst crisis since The Great Depression, when he came into office and it had lasting effects, had a lot of momentum then. And although he moved very, very quickly, to arrest the damage, stabilize the financial system, restart economic growth, and we've had four million jobs in the private sector created since job growth started again. We have absolutely got some ways to go.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You said basically-- the word you used was this is a ridiculous way.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: This is misleading and ridiculous. It's just a political moment. You know there is the quality of political debate (indistinct) economic policy is really terrible. It's not surprising given it's a campaign. But, you know, we have to govern in facts.

BOB SCHIEFFER: I'll be back shortly with this week's commentary and then on page two more of the interview with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Today in every Major League ballpark across America, every player will be wearing number forty-two, Jackie Robinson's number. Because today marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson stepped out of the Brooklyn Dodgers Dugout and became the first African-American to play in baseball's Major Leagues. They called it America's game but until Robinson came along, only some Americans got to play at the top level. A Brooklyn baseball executive named Branch Rickey changed that because he thought it would be good for the game. He knew there would be fierce opposition, so he picked Robinson to break the color line, not because he was the best player in the old Negro League, he probably wasn't, but because he thought Robinson had the character and the courage to withstand the hatred, the first black player was sure to face on and off the field, and he was right. Some of Robinson's own teammates refused to play alongside him, and opponents were unmerciful. But Branch Rickey was as good at judging character as he was at judging baseball talent. Robinson endured the hazing silently and went on to be the National League's Rookie of The Year. It was good for the game as Branch Rickey had hoped, but more than, that opening sports to all Americans made us a stronger and a better country.

Looking back, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig called it baseball's finest moment. Let us never forget why forty-two was just a number until Jackie Robinson wore it. Forty-two, Jackie Robinson's number.

Back in a minute.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now. For most of you, we'll have more of our interview with Secretary Geithner and discussions on the mommy wars and the Trayvon Martin case. We'll talk to the reporter who first brought it to national attention.


BOB SCHIEFFER: And we're back now with page two of FACE THE NATION, and more of my interview with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Here's what he told me. When I asked him where he thought unemployment would be on Election Day.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER (Treasury Secretary): Well, if the economy continues to gradually strengthen like it's been doing, then the unemployment rate will be lower and more Americans will be back to work. You know, growth is-- it's-- it looks pretty broad-based. Most of the available evidence has been pretty encouraging. But, you know, we still live in a dangerous, uncertain world. Europe is still going through really tough economic crisis and Iran is still a risk factor in the oil markets. Those things could hurt us still. But if you look at the economy as a whole against all the available evidence, not just the job growth, you're seeing pretty encouraging signs of resilience. You know, you see manufacturing pretty strong, energy very strong, agriculture quite strong, hi-tech very strong, exports pretty strong. And those are encouraging things but we've got a long way to go, lot of work to do and we should be working together to make the economy stronger.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Would you, I mean, would you put a number at where you think it will be or--


BOB SCHIEFFER: Let's talk about the plan that the President says that anybody, the so-called Buffett rule, anybody who makes over a million dollars a year should pay at least the thirty percent in income taxes. You know, people on the other side, the Republicans, even one independent analyst told us that this could actually wind up hurting the economy by stifling investment and growth, that this is going to discourage people from starting up new businesses because basically what it is is raising the-- the capital gains tax and raising the tax on-- on investments. How do you respond to that?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: No-- no credible basis for that argument, in my judgment, if you just look at the economics of it. And let's-- let's talk about the substance-- merits of that argument. You know, we face a lot of challenges still as a country. We have to get the economy growing, repair the damage from the crisis, get more people back to work. And we've got to make sure we put in place a balanced plan to bring down our long-term deficits. As part of that, we're going to have to cut spending across the government. You know, we've already cut-- committed to cut two trillion dollars in spending. But that going-- only goes part of the way.

We need to go further, do more with less across the government. But we do not see a feasible, economically sensible or fair way to do this and still preserve room for investments in education and infrastructure, help protect the safety net, help strengthen Medicare for seniors without asking the richest Americans to pay a somewhat larger share of their income in taxes. And-- and we think the most effective way to do that is to limit their ability to take advantage of deductions and exclusions, and that's what this rule would do. And I don't think there is a plausible path to tax reform, not a plausible path to fiscal reform that doesn't recognize the reality that we cannot afford to extend these tax cuts for the most fortune Americans. We just can't afford to do it. We can't afford to borrow to do it anymore, and we have to preserve room to these other priorities. And as part of that, again, we're going to propose to raise a modest amount of additional revenue from the most fortune Americans.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, the truth is, you and I both know that this has absolutely no chance of passing the Senate and even less chance of passing the House. Isn't it just kind of a publicity stunt to get the Republicans on record as being against it?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: I know, I've heard that concern, but I don't understand it. I mean, just because they oppose this doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do and we're going to keep pushing for things that are--

BOB SCHIEFFER: No, I mean to say it was-- was or wasn't the right thing to do. I'm just saying (indistinct) on the Senate.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Remember they fought us-- remember, they fought us on payroll tax? That was the right thing to do. They're resisting funding infrastructure, that's the right thing to do. They've resisted all the things we do to take the economy out of the crisis, and restart economic growth. Those were the right things to push for. If we don't push for things that make sense, then we're not governing. That's our responsibility in this case. And again, you're going to find broad support for this across the American people because there is no other way to meet the broad challenge of the country.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Did you actually hold out some hope that this would pass this year?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Oh, I certainly hope it will. But, you know, it's-- I know it's a political moment. It's a tough thing to do. But, you know, extending unaffordable tax cuts for the most fortune Americans is not a popular thing to do. It's not a fiscally responsibility-- responsible thing to do. It's not economically necessary thing to do. So, you know, our hope is we make the case, we are going to keep pushing it, we did that in the economy across the board, even if we face continued opposition from the President's opponents.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Secretary, thank you very much. It's always a pleasure to have you.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Nice to see you.

Bob schieffer: Are you planning to stay past the first term, by the way?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: You know the President asked me if I would stay, and I said I'd stay till the end of the first term.

BOB SCHIEFFER: And that's it?

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: And that seems like the right amount of time for me.

BOB SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you very much for being with us.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Nice to see you.


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