Jack Lew: U.S. Ending the Year Well Positioned

When it comes to the growth in the U.S., Treasury Secretary seems very optimistic. During an interview with the FOX Business Networks Maria Bartiromo he said the economy is in a “far better place than it was years ago.”

“We're seeing steady growth, we've seen enormous job creation over this period of time, we're seeing the unemployment rate around 5% and we're seeing that growth, in spite of the fact that there's a lot of headwinds from a slower global economy,” he said.

He said the U.S. will end the year “well positioned.”

“I think if you look at where we ended the year, we have a good, stable platform for growth, more clarity in the tax code, more investment in infrastructure, we've reversed the kind of downward pressure, the drag coming from, you know, sequestration by having sensible cuts that are being used to restore that spending that we need to invest in education and other things for the future,” he said.

He hopes to take on tax reform in the New Year.

“We have a broken business tax code and I think that's something that we have recognized for years and proposed tax reform and Republicans have recognized for years. I hope we can sit down and work together in a bipartisan basis to deal with this. We have so many loopholes and deductions that we have a statutory tax rate that’s the highest in the world,” he said.

He also sees a pent-up demand in housing.

“One thing I know is that people who have put off forming new households, aren't going to stay in that extra room or in the shared house forever,” he said.

He also discussed entitlements and retirement.

“People shouldn't panic about Social Security. The problem is, Social Security was never intended to be a sole source of retirement income. It was always thought of as part of a pension, savings and Social Security. Now, we know that people are seeing less and less, kind of, defined-benefit pension plans in their compensation. That puts all the more importance on saving for retirement. And the people who have the most trouble saving are people at firms that don't offer things like 401(k)s, people who are kind of at the start of their careers with  modest incomes,” he said.

In addition, he explained how people could start saving for retirement.

“What we did, which I think is a really important innovation, we started something called MyRA. MyRA is a simple, safe and affordable way for people to get started saving for retirement. You can put away as little as $5 a pay period and see how that adds up over time. All you have to do is go to MyRA.gov. You're putting your retirement savings in the safest investment possible, U.S. Treasury securities.”

When asked whether he plans on staying with the Administration until the president ends his term he said: “I come to work every day asking what can I do to help grow this economy to create more opportunity for middle class Americans and make America safe in the world. It's a privilege to serve and that's what I'm doing.”