WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Power Breakfast: A Conversation With Economist Alice Rivlin

Play associated audio

"I will be paying attention to two things. First, can they settle this squabble over the immediate budget," says Alice Rivlin.

Rivlin, senior fellow in economics at Brookings Institution, is referring to the Continuing Resolution still needed to finalize funding for the current fiscal year, which is half-over already.

"They should resolve it quickly. Any compromise will do I think... Get it over with and move on, because this is a distraction," shes says.

The real budget challenge is out there in the not-so-distant future. Fiscal Year 2012. According to Rivlin, the country is entering a period in which federal spending is bound to rise faster than federal revenues, not because of the recession or the President's policy initiatives or even the stimulus.

"It's because of the impact of aging and rising medical care costs on Medicare and Medicaid and, to a lesser extent, Social Security," she explains.

A trinity of long-term debt drivers, each one more fraught with political landmines than the last. Nonetheless, Rivlin says she's "hopeful," in part thanks to an unlikely pairing of Senators -- Virginia Democrat Mark Warner and Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss.

"I am looking to the bipartisan group of Senators that are working," Rivlin says. "I think that is the most significant thing going on at the moment. They are focused on the long-run deficit. But to control that requires doing very unpopular things."

Things like entitlement reform and taxes. Momentum is building in the Senate. So is pressure on the President to get more involved.


Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Restricted To 20-Day U.K. Visa

Ai says he was denied a six-month visa because U.K. officials said he didn't list a criminal conviction in his application. Ai was imprisoned in China, but he notes he was never charged with a crime.

Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Ugandan chimps has found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 31, 2015

Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.


Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.