Just the Facts: Deficit Commission Member Alice Rivlin

June 23, 2010

Alice Rivlin was the first director of the Congressional Budget Office, the first female director of the Office of Management and Budget (serving under former President Bill Clinton), and has served as a vice chair of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors. Rivlin is currently a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

One thing clearly on Rivlin’s mind, as evidenced by her Brookings blog post cheering the creation of the deficit commission, is how to deal with entitlements. She recently told CNBC she favors raising the age at which workers can begin receiving social security and has suggested making reforms to the ways in which entitlement benefits are calculated.

In her interview with CNBC, Rivlin said income tax rates could be kept where they are, or even lowered, if lawmakers were wiling to get rid of “exclusions” in the code. She called the current tax system “unfair.” (We should note Rivlin was at the White House — as deputy director of the OMB — when President Clinton’s 1993 tax increases on income, gas, and Social Security benefits taxes went through.)

Rivlin is the author of the 2004 Brookings-published book Restoring Fiscal Sanity. In a 2005 paper of the same name Rivlin, on page 113, discusses a value-added tax as a good possibility for raising revenue. She also advocates for a carbon tax.

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