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Secretary Lew's PBS Interview on Long-Term Unemployment and Spending Cuts, May 2013

Interviewer: Paul Solman
Interviewee: Jacob J. Lew
Published May 8, 2013

PBS journalist Paul Solman interviewed Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew about long-term unemployment, economic growth, and spending cuts on May 8, 2013.

Excerpt from the interview:

PAUL SOLMAN: It's three years since the president signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. Most of it hasn't been implemented. And a lot of people say it's Wall Street that's been slowing it down, chipping away at it.

Have you stood up to Wall Street?

JACK LEW: First of all, Dodd-Frank was an extremely important piece of legislation. It created powerful new tools, the first time in two generations that we have new tools to deal with a financial system that clearly had gotten out of control, and in 2008 caused a huge economic crisis.

At the beginning, it was difficult to implement Dodd-Frank. We had this enormous effort as soon as it was signed into law to repeal it. That slowed the process down. We're now in a place where I think there is a shared sense of urgency, certainly an urgency I feel as treasury secretary to get Dodd-Frank fully implemented.

PAUL SOLMAN: Last question, should we be ending the era of too big to fail banks?

JACK LEW: Dodd-Frank was enacted to end too big to fail.

It established as a policy that the federal government cannot go in and bail out banks again. So the question is now asked, do those tools work? And I think it's a little premature to answer, because we're still not across the finish line of implementing all of Dodd-Frank. I think you're seeing the regulators are looking at many of the dials that could be turned to make it more costly to be a big bank by raising capital standards, to make it more difficult to get overextended through the leverage requirements.

So I can't sit here today and see into the future and say with 100 percent certainty that we have succeeded, but I can say with 100 percent certainty we are determined to succeed."

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