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Crescenzi: Geithner Shows Conviction, Confidence; Substance Awaited

Given the importance of fiscal policy and crisis management to the economic outlook, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC todaywas important.

Geithner spoke with conviction on the problems in Europe and the United States. Geithner's performance arguably far and away was his best in quite some time, with him sounding more substantive than political and because he spoke as if he was intent on inspiring confidence in the financial markets, something the markets need in a Treasury Secretary.

Geithner was emphatic about Europe’s capacity and its willingness to handle its problems, saying emphatically, for example, there is “no chance” any of the major countries in Europe would let their institutions fail, and that a Lehman moment is "off the table."

Delivering Alpha - presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor
Delivering Alpha - presented by CNBC and Institutional Investor

More important of course given Geithner's limited ability to push Europe to act on its problems is for Europe to act and for it to show it has the will and the willingness to address its problems. The U.S. must, too, in its upcoming battle on finding short-term solutions to boost growth and the means for battling the structural impediments to growth.

So, although Geithner's interview was comforting from the vantage point of it projecting the belief that the world's policymakers have both the willingness and ability to handle current problems, there is no substitute for decisive action, which has been lacking on both sides of the pond.

Click here to watch the full interview.

Tony Crescenzi is Senior VP, Strategist, Portfolio Manager Pimco. Crescenzi makes regular appearances on financial television stations such as CNBC and Bloomberg, and is frequently quoted across the news media. He is also the author of "Investing from the Top Down," "The Strategic Bond Investor," and co-author of the 1200-page book "The Money Market."