NEW YORK — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Thursday that the economy was in the midst of a recovery that could be imperiled if the government's support systems were removed too quickly.
"A classic pattern in past financial crises is governments tend to put on the brakes too soon, withdraw support too early, and that's been a very costly mistake and we're going to be very careful to avoid that mistake," Geithner said at a conference sponsored by the Economist magazine.
A robust recovery depends on businesses investing more in the economy, Geithner said, and it is the government's responsibility to give them the tools to do that.
Despite signs of improvement, the recovery will be slow, the Treasury chief said.
"We've improved the prospects that we're not going to be consigned to a prolonged period of below-trend growth," he said.
But there will be a long period of adjustment as consumers save more and businesses work to improve their balance sheets, Geithner added.