Political Economy: Geithner pushes Obama's economic agenda
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner Monday continued the Obama administration's push for more measures aimed at stimulating the economy, even as he defended the policies that President Obama has pursued since taking office.
Speaking before of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Geithner said the "first order of business" as Congress returns to town this week is to pass an aid package intended to cut taxes and make loans more readily available to small businesses. Lawmakers are expected to take up the legislation this week.
Geithner also addressed the looming legislative and politic battle over whether to extend a series of tax cuts put in place by President George W. Bush, which are scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The Obama administration has argued for extending those cuts that apply to the vast majority of Americans, while letting the cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year expire. Republicans have argued that all the tax cuts should be extended in order to spur economic growth.
Geithner rejected that argument.
"We can't afford to go back to the policies of the past decade," he said in his prepared remarks, "when we passed large tax cuts for the wealthiest American's without paying for them and saw little impact on job creation and years of stagnation in middle class wages."
Rather, he made the case for more investment in the nation's infrastructure and for giving businesses additional tax credits for the research and development they do in the United States, as well as for other key investments.