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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs