Geithner: Economic Recovery 'Definitely Slower... and That is Not a Good Thing'

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said last night on PBS that the nation's economic recovery is "definitely slower than it has been and that is not a good thing."

"But I think if you talk to most economists now and most business people still -- they still see an economy expanding, still healing, still repairing the damage, making progress, growing maybe a little faster than it did in the first half of the year but there's this two big risks -- two big risks you referred to. You have Europe's crisis, which is a very significant risk," he said.

"And you've got this broader concern about whether Washington is going to find the will to govern again and not just defuse this mix of tax cut, tax increases and spending cuts that take place within the year but replace those with a sensibly designed balanced package of reforms that can help the economy grow and restore fiscal balance."

Geithner heaped responsibility on the shoulders of Congress as listed things lawmakers could do for economic growth such as helping states "put more teachers back in the classroom."

"We cannot control what happens in Europe. Europe is having a big effect on the global economy and our economy right now," he said, noting that the U.S. has tried to steer European leaders in a direction the administration believes will foster stability. "You know, we did that with a huge amount of humility because we have a crisis in the United States that caused a lot of damage to the world but -- and you know we still bear the scars of that crisis."

Geithner defended his boss by saying there was a "huge moral case" for Obama to focus on healthcare reform early in his term rather than fix squarely on the economy.

"And remember on his team, he had, I would say, some of the most talented legislators of their generation, not just in his chief of staff at that time, Rahm Emanuel, but he had the best experts in healthcare policy, drawing on the best ideas there too," he said.