Alice Rivlin was interviewed by Brian Sullivan of Fox Business News following the release of Paul Ryan’s budget proposal on April 5. Rivlin, a member of the President’s Debt Commission, weighs in on Ryan’s proposal, solutions to the current budget crisis and the looming government shutdown.
BRIAN SULLIVAN: Before we get into the 2012 budget proposal I do need to ask you about this year’s budget. The two sides still seem very far apart. Do you believe we will shut down the government this weekend?
ALICE RIVLIN: “I hope not. I hope we reach agreement. I don’t have any inside information, but it would be so stupid, destructive, irresponsible – whatever you want to call it – to shut down the government just because we couldn’t reach agreement on the current fiscal year. I am hopeful it won’t happen.”
SULLIVAN: As we debate the 2011 budget, now we’re talking about the 2012 budget. I know you have done some work not only with the Bipartisan Policy Commission, but also with Congressman Ryan in the past. You have put out proposals that look very similar to what Congressman Ryan has put out. What is your reaction, then, to the proposal and whether or not you believe it will be embraced on a bipartisan basis?
RIVLIN: Well I don’t think it is correct to say that I have put out proposals that look similar to Congressman Ryan’s, except in one very particular respect that I will come back to. The Ryan budget is a bold and drastic set of spending cuts across the spectrum of federal spending, including Medicare and Medicaid. Now it is courageous of him to do that. I think it is a good opening entry in the debate that is going to take place over the 2012 budget, but I wouldn’t embrace it in its entirety for a minute, nor will the Congress as a whole.
We have to have a bipartisan solution to this. It cannot be all on the spending side (spending cuts, which is what the Ryan budget is). So it should be regarded as a bold opening move in a long negotiation.