Former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the U.S. is "more resilient" and better situated to continue economic growth than other nations.
Job creation, energy and growth in manufacturing and housing are bright spots for the U.S., Geithner told New Jersey's State Investment Council. Increased spending on infrastructure would help the expansion, he said.
"Obviously we have a lot of challenges," Geithner, president of New York-based private equity firm Warburg Pincus, said Thursday in Trenton. "Five years is a longer-than-average expansion, but we don't seem to be close here to approaching the natural limits of that."
Before Geithner's 2009 to 2013 tenure at Treasury, he was head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The U.S. was well-served by a response to the fiscal crisis that was "more forceful" than that of some nations, he said.
The national deficit as a share of gross domestic product has fallen as stimulus programs end, the economy improves and recession-related costs drop, he said. Infrastructure spending is a key long-term investment, he said.
"If you don't spend to improve infrastructure, ask yourself if you are really saving money," Geithner said. "We can afford to do that, and it would mean good returns to the economy for all because it would mean growth is getting stronger and you'd see growth in employment opportunities."
Geithner spoke of rising income inequality, which he said was made worse by the recession and is an issue that should concern all Americans.
A stronger financial system, nascent housing recovery and lower individual debt are positives, he said.