News / USA

US Treasury Secretary: Economy on the Mend

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Bowman

The U.S. economy is healing from a deep and prolonged recession, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Geithner struck an upbeat note on America's economic prospects, but also stressed the need to confront pressing risks to the nation's long term financial health.

Friday brought some hopeful news to the battered U.S. labor market. Although employers continue to cut jobs amid a fledgling economic recovery, the U.S. unemployment rate for January dipped below 10 percent to 9.7 percent. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner hailed the development on ABC's "This Week" program. "We are seeing some encouraging signs of healing. This is going to take a while, and it [the economic recovery] is going to be uneven. But there are encouraging signs in this [unemployment] report," he said.

Geithner noted that the drop in unemployment follows word that the U.S. economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent at the end of 2009. "We have an economy that was growing at almost six percent in the fourth quarter of last year -- the most rapid rate in six years. And we have the capacity as a government to reinforce that process, and help guide this economy back to the point where we are not just growing again, but we see growth translate into jobs," he said.

In its budget projections, the Obama administration is assuming that unemployment will remain stubbornly high -- above 9 percent -- well into next year. Fearing what some economists are already calling a 'jobless recovery', President Barack Obama is pressing Congress to enact financial incentives for small businesses to hire new workers.

Treasury Secretary Geithner says a jobs bill is vital, as is an overhaul of America's financial regulations to limit risk-taking by the nation's banks and major private financial institutions.

On that point, Geithner has the backing of his predecessor, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press" program. "The economy is clearly recovering. Now, one of the factors that will help is more certainty with regard to actions out of Washington. For instance, certainty with regard to financial regulatory reform will help," he said.

Congress has debated financial reform ever since the financial meltdown of 2008, when major banks, investment houses, insurance giants and mortgage firms collapsed at a catastrophic rate, and credit for consumers and businesses all but evaporated. Many economists say, without far-reaching regulatory reform, the United States risks a repeat in the future.

Also appearing on "Meet the Press" was former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who highlighted another long-term risk to America's economic health: its skyrocketing national debt. Greenspan said the debt will eventually constrain the U.S. economy and erode America's place on the world stage. "History tells us that great powers, when they have gotten into very significant fiscal problems, have ceased to be great powers," he said.

President Obama's budget projects federal deficits in excess of $1 trillion for this year and 2011. He has proposed a freeze on some domestic spending, and sought a bipartisan commission to craft a plan to tackle America's long-term fiscal imbalances.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid