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Geithner: Working in Washington was even worse than you think

Most people agree that the political climate in Washington isn't a good one, and Timothy Geithner says it wasn't any better when he was working there.

Asked if the political morass in Washington was as bad as it looked, the former treasury secretary drew laughter with his answer at the 2016 Delivering Alpha Conference sponsored by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

"When I was in D.C., I used to say politics was worse than it looked," he said Tuesday morning.

He added, however: "Now I like to hope it is better than it looks."

Still, he said he has concerns about how the political environment could contribute to economic policy decisions.

"The scarier things are really about politics," Geithner said. He went on to explain that a "scary erosion of the pragmatic center."

Geithner, who served under President Barack Obama as secretary of the treasury as the U.S. struggled to rebound from the global financial crisis, said the current political climate could lead to a "diminished capacity to make sensible economic choices."