U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sat down today with Bloomberg Television’s Chief Washington Correspondent Peter Cook and said that Europe should look to the United States as an example to get its economy moving: “We still have more work to do, but I think we’re in a place now where the example of the United States is actually a good one.”
Jack Lew said, “Europe does need to look at what it can do to get the engine of growth moving again…The world needs Europe to grow."
Jack Lew on what he is looking forward to at the upcoming G-20 meeting:
“We in the United States have taken tough actions to get our economy moving, and we’re seeing positive results. We’re seeing economic growth. We’re seeing job creation. Not as fast as we’d like, but it’s moving in the right direction. Our financial system has stabilized. We’ve got better capitalized banks. We’ve been making the point at these meetings that Europe does need to look at what it can do to get the engine of growth moving again. The world needs Europe to grow. We’ve been making the case to some of the emerging economies, China in particular, that they need to go through the internal reforms to get their economy moving. These have been friendly conversations. I think we have a common interest in a world where there’s growth so that we can have the benefits within our benefits and across our borders and see job creation. And those are the kinds of conversations I look forward to having at the G-20 meeting.”
Jack Lew on whether Europe should follow the U.S. as an example to get its economy moving again:
“We’ve been clear that things that we think worked in the United States were a combination of fiscal policy that was decisive and it helped get the engine of the economy moving. We’ve had monetary policies that have been effective. If you look at the world four years ago and the world now, very different; Four years ago, the world looked at the United States and it looked at the financial crisis and there was a lot of explaining to do as to how that had happened. Well, four years later we’re growing, again, not as fast as we’d like, but steadily in the right direction. The core of our economy is recovering and the resilience of our economy is clear. In spite of its noise, the resilience of our political system has led to policies that have been effective. We still have more work to do, but we’re in a place now where the example of the United States is actually a good one.
Jack Lew on whether the U.S. is in any position to offer Europe adequate economic policy recommendations:
“I never miss an opportunity to say that we are relentlessly focused on people looking for work in this country, making sure that they have the opportunity to find work. So the fact that we’ve made enormous progress does not mean that we’re all the way there. You look at the core economy. It’s growing in the neighborhood of 2 percent right now. It looks like it might be growing a little faster at the end of the year. This was a year with tremendous headwinds. We had a payroll tax cut that went away. We had spending cuts that took effect. Notwithstanding those very strong headwinds from government policies, some of them intentional, some of them unintentional, the core economy is growing at 2 percent.”
“If you look at Europe, 2 percent is far beyond their expectations. And the headwinds won’t be there next year, so we should be doing better as we get to the end of the year, the beginning of next year. This is not an occasion to say the work is done. And I’ve never said that the work is done. We need to be very cognizant of the fact that we have to invest in our own country in order to make sure that everyone who wants a job has a job. We have to worry about education. We have to worry about research and development. We have to worry about infrastructure. And that’s a lot of what will be the subject of the debate as we work through the fiscal issues in the remainder of this year.”
Jack Lew on making a stop in Greece this coming Sunday:
“The president will be meeting with the prime minister of Greece in August. He’ll be coming to Washington. It’s a chance for me to have some conversations with the prime minister and the finance minister. It’s a chance to check in, and I’m looking forward to the conversations on Sunday… I’ve been following Greece pretty closely for the last couple of years. I think that it’s clear that Greece has moved in a very important direction in making reforms that they needed to make. They’ve got difficult decisions ahead