Sec. Timothy Geithner on the Future of the Economy

Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner speaks to Judy Woodruff at The Atlantic's "Building the Economy & Jobs of the Future" Event. We're live-blogging the event. Entries listed in reverse chronological order.

9:05: Geithner's closing line: "The great obligation we have here in Washington is to recognize that ... as we have debates about our budget deficits, and how we reduce spending, the most important thing is to reinforce our recovery and make the world more confident in us."

9:00: Geithner on CEOs and corporate tax reform: "We'll persuade 'em." He suggests they have changed some minds already. For background: The difficulty of even deficit-neutral corporate tax reform is that some big important influential US companies benefit from loopholes in the code today. Corporate tax reform will hurt those corps. Deficit-neutral for the U.S. economy doesn't mean revenue-neutral for each company, and today's winners could be tomorrow's losers in tax reform. So the admin has a tough job convincing them to accept losses...

8:50: Judy Woodruff poses a tough question. Jobs that we lost were middle class and upper middle class. The first jobs to come back are in health care, leisure, retail and food preparation. Does that mean our middle class economy is kaput? And Geithner offers a solid answer. The U.S. is growing faster than Europe and Japan and our exports are expanding at a healthy clip. Some economists think the U.S. could grow up to 4 percent this year into early 2012. That bodes well for the middle class. What he didn't say, but could have, was that low-class jobs are almost always the first to come back because they're the first to leave. Retail and food prep jobs are easy to fire and easy to hire because they cost so little and are so responsive to consumer demand.

8:25: Follow us on Twitter @dkthomp and @TheAtlantic. Hashtag #USFutureEconomy.

8:10: Geithner isn't in the house yet, but we can already anticipate an obvious question: What's the future of Fannie?

The White House will seek to phase out troubled housing giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to a report this morning from National Journal. But will Obama press to keep some form of government backstop to mortgages or get government out of the housing business altogether? We'll see what Geithner has to say in a few minutes.


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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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