Speaking during a CNBC conference on Wednesday morning, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said that the economy is in an "early stage" of crisis and urged Congress to act before conditions worsen.
"If Congress or Washington is incapable of acting, then policy will be damaging to growth because what you'll have is a deeper, steeper contraction in fiscal support than is prudent for an economy at this early stage of the crisis given the shocks we face," Geithner said.
CNBC's Jim Cramer asked about the administration's jobs plan, which contains tax increases that Republicans have opposed: "Is this dead on arrival?"
Geithner said, "Absolutely not. I think that there's no reason now for the Congress of the United States not to act to help strengthen growth in the near term. It's the conservative, prudent, responsible thing to do. You can think of it as protection against Europe."
He also placed blame on the political climate, saying it is "very damaging" to confidence. "You have this terribly damaging political dysfunction here and in Europe that leaves the world wondering whether the political system has the capacity to do the right thing."
Watch the video:
On "The Colbert Report" on Tuesday, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman compared the economy of today to that of the 1930s. The left-leaning economist said, "We're already in something that is functionally like the Depression. It's not as bad. The Lesser Depression." Watch the interview: