Rivlin Tells IOP Audience Federal Deficit is Manageable
Former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Chairman Alice M. Rivlin last right downplayed the difficulty of controlling the federal deficit in a speech to a packed audience at the Kennedy School of Government's Institute of Politics Forum.
Rivlin, who chaired the CBO from 1975 until 1983, said that the country's economic problems are being made more complicated by anxiety in the press and polls.
"We've made a dumb choice," she said, referring to President Reagan's economic policy, which allows for high interest rates and a huge federal deficit.
Rivlin added that the country's economic problem is "conceptionally very simple" but "if we solved it, what would the election campaign be about?" she said.
Rivlin, who is a fellow at the Broodings Institute, suggested that the country is afraid to deal with more difficult questions, such us rising poverty rates and the nuclear arms race.
Kennedy School Dean Graham T. Allison, Jr. '62 introduced Rivlin as "Dr. Straight, explaining that she has "a well deserved reputation for telling people things they don't want to hear."
Rivlin presented her speechentitled. Making Governments Word," as part of the Godkin Lecture Series.
The series was endowed at Harvard in 1903 by friends of British journalist Edwin L. Godkin for the delivery and publication of lectures on "the Essentials of Free Government and the Duties of the Citizen."
Past speakers have included psychologist Erik Erikssor, journalist George Will, and former secretary of Defence and Energy James R. Schlesinger '50.