Report: Treasury Secretary warns world leaders that U.S. consumers look to reduce debt

Geithner letter pushes economic policy U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the G-20 summit in a letter that American consumers can no longer be depended upon to act as a "sponge" for the entire world’s exports, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Geithner’s letter, according to the Journal, said that "given the broader shifts under way in the U.S. economy towards higher domestic savings, without further progress on rebalancing global demand, global growth rates will fall short of potential," implying that a fundamental shift has taken place in the outlook of the American consumer.

The letter is aimed in part at getting major exporters of consumer goods like Japan, China, and Germany to reduce their dependence on the U.S. market as a primary consumer of their products, the newspaper says.

Experts say that, if the U.S. economy is to recover the robust health it enjoyed prior to the housing crisis and consequent recession, a boost to consumer confidence is one of two requirements, along with a decrease in unemployment.