Dr Alice Rivlin is an economist who has seen every boom and bust since World War II. Now aged 81 she is one of President Obama's advisors on debt. It's her job to come up with solutions to America's financial crisis. She speaks to Jenni Murray about the challenges of being female and wanting to be an economist – rejected from some universities, and even forbidden from taking out library books because she was female.
I try to be hopeful about things. I long for a time when people on the left and the right might exchange opinions without assuming the very worst of each other. I don’t view conservatism as a form of psychosis and would like conservatives to harbor the same attitude toward progressivism. Happy warriors are better than grim antagonists.
Last Monday, Rivlin — a former budget director — said passing up the TV interviews was key to leaders getting a fiscal cliff deal. "They need to get off the Sunday shows," she declared at a briefing for reporters. Former Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) offered similar advice.
"Get rid of the debt ceiling," she says. "It's a totally artificial thing. When you vote for spending and you vote for revenues there's an implicit debt number there, but it shouldn't be used as a hammer over the head of the president or anybody else…..the debt ceiling has nothing to do with the rising debt."
Further proving the importance of continuing one's education beyond high school are the findings of a 2010 report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which revealed that by 2018, 23% of the workforce will be required to hold a bachelor's degree.
Former Republican Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete V. Domenici and former Clinton administration Budget Director Alice Rivlin, co-chairs of a Bipartisan Policy Center debt reduction task force, issued a 2.0 version of their plan that attempts to thread the needle between what they say is the short-term need for more economic stimulus and concern for slowing the growth of the $16.2 trillion national debt.
With the average cost of a bachelor's degree now running about $68,500 at State U. and $154,300 at a private college, one might well wonder if the investment is worthwhile. In short, it is. But the return very much depends on your major.