Here's how Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner handled the issue of bank nationalization during a recent appearance on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.
JIM LEHRER: All right. Now, back to the banks for a moment. Much has been said and discussed about nationalizing the banks. Fit that word into what we've just been talking about.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Jim, I think that's the wrong strategy for the country, and I don't think it's a necessary strategy. What we need to do is to make sure that these institutions have the resources necessary to perform their critical function on an ongoing basis in our economy as a whole, these major banking institutions.
Now, there may be circumstances in which we have to provide, for the benefit of the economy as a whole, exceptional levels of support. And when we do that, as the president said last night, we're going to be very careful that that comes with conditions to make sure our support is helping support lending, that it comes with conditions to make sure these institutions restructure so they are stronger, so that there is accountability, and so that we make it more likely, not less likely, that private capital comes in and replaces the government's capital as soon as that's possible.
JIM LEHRER: But the government is not going to be running these banks in exchange for propping them up financially, if it becomes necessary?
TIMOTHY GEITHNER: I think our system works better if these institutions are managed and remain in private hands. But, again, we're going to have to make sure that they have the support necessary to get through this and plays a critical role, and we're going to do that.