In an interview on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show," Geithner -- who testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday unemployment might go up this year before it starts to come down in 2011 -- was asked whether his call for financial regulation is connected to stubborn joblessness.
"For the economy right now, the most important thing we do is to pass additional targeted support for growth, for expansion, for job creation," Geithner said.
"But the financial reform, in general, is very, very important," he said. "You've seen the devastating crisis, just deeply unfair, brutally unfair, hurt millions of American families, hundreds of thousands of small businesses. We all feel a deep sense of responsibility and obligation to make sure we are fixing what was broken in this financial system, and put in place kind of tough reforms, provide better protections for consumers, and make sure we don't have a financial system that can take these kinds of risks again."
Citing "the innocent victims" of misdeeds by financial institutions, Geithner called the push for financial reform "a just war."
"I think it's a necessary and important thing to do," he said. "I think we have a deep obligation to get (Congress) to do this."