The US, which witnessed one of the worst economic crisis in recent times, is coming out of recession faster and stronger than many countries of the world, a top Obama Administration official has said.
"The economy is definitely getting stronger. We're coming out of this stronger and more quickly than many people expected, and stronger and faster than many countries around the world," US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said.
Noting that the US is in a much stronger position today than it was earlier, Geithner said this has been because US President Barack Obama acted forcefully initially, doing things that were politically difficult, but he acted with overwhelming force to put out the financial fire.
"We've been growing now for three quarters," he said. At the same time he said there is still a long way to go. "We have got a lot of work to do still. This is going to take a long time to heal. We're going to keep working to make sure that we're getting a strong recovery in place that gets more people back to work," he said.
Geithner said it's a critical moment for reform, a promising moment. "A lot of hard work, lot of progress. It's been two and a half years since this crisis started, more than a year since we first laid out a comprehensive set of reforms. And I think we know what we need to know about the choices we face; it's just time to decide and time to move," he said.
Referring to the comprehensive financial reform that is being pushed by the Administration, the Treasury Secretary said: "We are going to make sure we have a comprehensive bill that brings derivatives out of the dark, ends too big to fail, and gives consumers and investors basic protection against abuse, against predation."
Earlier in the day, the US President met a bi-partisan group of Senators to discuss Financial Reforms. "He (Obama) reaffirmed his belief that we must end taxpayer bailouts, end 'Too Big To Fail' and that he would not accept a bill that did not pass that test," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement after the meeting.
"The President reiterated his belief that we are open to ideas and eager to work with anyone who is willing to work with us regardless of party. He also made clear that bipartisanship should not be equated with an openness to lobbyists loopholes and special interest carve outs and that he would be unwilling to negotiate on some key issues. And that he could not accept bad policy in pursuit of bipartisanship," Gibbs said.
"He specifically pushed attendees on derivatives and the recent effort by the financial industry to pressure the Senate to weaken oversight over the same financial products that led to the near collapse of AIG warning that the problems of the future will rest on the steps we take to address derivatives now," Gibbs said, adding that Obama said the accountability of Wall Street is long due.
Later briefing reporters after the meeting, Geithner said: "The central test of credibility on any too big to fail is to make sure we can stand up and say that when large companies manage themselves to the point where they cannot survive without the government that we put them out of existence. We do so safely with less risk to the economy and in a way that doesn't leave the taxpayers on the hook. So the central part of this is to make sure that in future financial crises, that banks bear the cost of any risk the government has to take to protect the economy."
Geithner said the basic principle for the US is going to be to make sure people understand that the Administration will not leave the taxpayer exposed to any risk of loss. "Any risks the government takes are going to be borne by large financial institutions, as it should be, and which is completely consistent with what the President proposed in his financial responsibility fee, which as you know, is designed to cover any losses we ultimately face as a result of TARP," he argued.