Treasury Secretary Neil Wolin Hints at Elimination of the Penny

sufficient opportunity to either voices — they don’t have a opportunity to explain what they think the right approach ought to be.  And, again, you know, we don’t want to put forward a rule.  The regulators don’t want to put forward a rule that isn’t well thought through.  And so, you know, lots of people have ideas and views about this.  They feel very passionately about those views and ideas.  And so it’s going to require some time and it’s going to require some additional work.”

On whether Dodd-Frank eliminated future too-big-to-fail situations:
“I think the statute made clear, once and for all, that taxpayers are not going to be on the hook for dealing with failed financial institutions.  It creates, the statute does, a whole process by which the owners of those firms, the management of those firms have to take responsibility for those failures. And the biggest financial firms in the country have — will have to gather together and make sure that whatever is needed in the way of resources is provided.  So the taxpayers are held harmless.

On whether there are still too-big-to-fail institutions in the United States:
“I think the whole point of Dodd-Frank was to create a system, a financial system, in which we can survive the failure of big firms, to make sure that we create more capital cushions; we have stronger credential requirements.  And then as the Dodd-Frank statute provides and now the regulators have put in place, a set of procedures that will make sure that when a firm does fail, it will fail without causing undue pain for the rest of the financial system.”

On whether Dobb-Frank gives the Treasury too much power:
“I don’t think so.  I think that this statute was very carefully crafted.  It doesn’t give the Secretary of the Treasury so much power.  That power, as you know, resides in the Financial Stability Oversight Council, which is a collection of all the regulators. They have a process that’s very well thought through, that was subject to lots and lots of public comment and adjustment on the basis of that public comment.  I think that this is a statute that is an important addition to the safety and the stability and the resilience of our financial system.”

On whether Dodd-Frank can hold up against the 11 attorneys general fighting it:

“Absolutely I do.”

On whether the Treasury can stop the issues in Italy from affecting our economy:
“What’s important, I think, is that the Italians have made lots of reforms, lots of progress dealing with their issues, the twin issues of fiscal consolidation on the one hand and trying to restore growth on the other.  And it’s important that they continue along that path. I would say that if you look at Italy in the broader context of Europe, I think you really now have Europe with the tools available to deal with these issues and a European central bank working cooperatively with European governments, again, to make sure that these twin challenges of making sure that governments are fiscally responsible on the one hand, while at the same time being very focused on creating growth and stimulating growth that will be helpful for not only Europe but for the United States.  I think, you know, we feel better about that.”

On whether the Treasury needs to apply more pressure on the Chinese to float their currency in the open market:
“You know, they need to do more; their currency is still undervalued.  But it has appreciated by 14 percent or so in real terms over the last few years.  And so that is progress.  And we will continue to stay at it as we engage the Chinese on this very important issue.”

On whether the Treasury has a contentious relationship with U.S. businesses:
“No, I don’t think so, not at all, Liz.  We’ve listened to a wide range of stakeholders.  Business, obviously, importantly included.  And I feel like we’re in a good place with them.  We’re not always going to agree on every issue.  But we’re always going to take them seriously.  We’re always going to listen and we’re always going to hopefully learn from what we hear.”

On whether the Treasury will eliminate the penny from U.S. currency:
“Well, you know, the president spoke about this last week.  It’s something that we should take a look at, because it is, I think, a little peculiar that we make a penny for something that’s more than 2 cents.  And I think that’s an issue that we’ll get further study and examination.  But it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense that we’re spending more for a penny than a penny is worth.”

On whether he has signed any money as Acting Treasury Secretary:
“No.  No.”

 

On his next move once he leaves the Treasury:
“Well, I don’t know, you know, I’m very focused on doing the work of the Treasury; we’ve been working hard to make sure that Jack Lew gets confirmed as quickly as

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