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August 3, 2009

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Geithner says US must cut the deficit

UNITED States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the US must cut the annual federal budget deficit, now more than US$1 trillion, for the economy to have a sustained recovery and he is not ruling out new taxes.

He said the country needs to understand that the Obama administration will do what's necessary. He did not detail how the government plans to shrink the deficit, but he said health care reform and lowering costs are essential.

"When we have recovery established, led by the private sector, then we have to bring these deficits down very dramatically," he said on ABC TV's "This Week" yesterday. "And that's going to require some very hard choices. And we're going to have to do that in a way that does not add unfairly to the burdens that the average American already faces."

Geithner also said private economists generally expect to see growth later this year and unemployment to ease in the second half of next year.

Any recovery must rely on business investment and hiring, according to Geithner. He also said the administration will stick with its economic efforts until a strong private sector-led recovery is in place.

Geithner said the White House wants a health care bill that has broad support in Congress. But he said the decision of whether "to help shape this and be part of it" is up to lawmakers.

"Or do they want this country ... to go another several decades without doing what every other serious country has done. Which is to give their citizens access to basic quality of care."

Geithner also denied Republican claims that the government is taking too much control over Wall Street.


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