Moments ago on Morning Edition, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that if the Obama administration's latest jobs plan is enacted it should have a "substantial, powerful effect" on the economy.
The $447 billion package of tax cuts, infrastructure spending and aid to states "is designed to make the economy stronger now and get more Americans back to work," Geithner told host Steve Inskeep. He said that tax cuts aimed at small businesses who hire new workers would boost employment quickly and that the spending on roads and other infrastructure would give a lift to the labor market over a longer stretch of time.
Asked why the public should have faith in such forecasts after watching the jobless rate rise despite earlier stimulus efforts, Geithner said "the economy was much worse than anybody knew at the time" — late 2008 and early 2009 — of earlier stimulus efforts. And he made the case that the earlier "Recovery Act" was "exceptionally powerful in restarting economic growth much earlier than anybody thought."
As The Associated Press reports, while House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said Obama's proposals "merit consideration," other Republican lawmakers "were less charitable."
"The president's plan is nothing new," said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. "It simply doubles down on the same failed policies that he has pursued before. And I don't expect they will be any more successful than they were the first time around."
Much more from Steve's conversation with Geithner will be posted here later.
Update at 9:20 a.m. ET. And here's the audio of their discussion (our apologies if you're viewing this on a device that doesn't show our player):
NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner