Geithner defends stimulus during N.C. visit

RALEIGH — During a series of appearances in the Triangle on Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended the Obama administration's economic recovery efforts and said the public's lack of confidence in Washington has obscured their effectiveness.

"You're seeing a country that has suffered a profound erosion of basic confidence in public institutions and a deep, great skepticism about whether Washington is going to make decisions in not just the immediate but the long-term interest of the country," Geithner said. "I think that's overshadowed much of the basic debate about the substance of the actions the administration has taken."

Geithner, in the Triangle on the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's signing the $787 billion federal stimulus package, said the legislation was essential to lifting the country out of a deep crisis.

"There was no way out of the mess we were in that didn't start with that forceful package of tax incentives and investments," he said.

Geithner met with editors and reporters of The News & Observer after making stops in Durham and Research Triangle Park.

With the economy now showing signs of life, Geith ner said the administration's focus in 2010 is to provide targeted economic incentives such as tax credits for small businesses, credit assistance for small and regional banks and assistance to struggling state governments.

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