On a day when former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles offered a rehashed proposal of their 2010 deficit reduction plan, one of the people who helped craft the original plan appeared in Des Moines to discuss the country’s mounting debt. Dr. Alice Rivlin spoke to more than 100 business leaders and concerned citizens during a downtown luncheon on Tuesday.
Rivlin was joined by State Auditor David Vaudt for a panel discussion organized by “Fix the Debt”, a nationwide organization that is seeking a bipartisan solution to fixing the nation’s debt. Rivlin serves on the group’s national steering committee. Vaudt does the same for the Iowa chapter.
““I think we need to come back to the grand bargain that the president and Speaker Boehner were working,” Rivlin told TheIowaRepublican.com. “They need to bring the two sides back together and the grand bargain means we have to slow the growth, very carefully, in the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and we have to reform the tax code so we can raise more revenue.”
Dr. Rivlin was the first director of the Congressional Budget Office. She was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Simpson-Bowles committee. Their plan, released in December 2010, aimed to eliminate the federal deficit by 2035. Their proposal called for reforms to Social Security and Medicare. However, Congress never took action on it.
“I was very disappointed that the president didn’t play a stronger leadership role there,” Rivlin said. “That was two years ago. Now is now and he’s got another chance. There are bipartisan groups in the Congress, in the Senate especially, that really want to get this job done.”
“It has been very, very frustrating to watch our federal elected officials, who have gone from denial to simply lip service, totally ignoring the issues at hand and really trying to take action that has to be done,” said Auditor Vaudt. “It’s critical to our financial future.”
Dr. Rivlin praised Auditor Vaudt for the fiscal discipline he has shown in Iowa. State legislators from both sides of the aisle serve on the steering committee for Fix the Debt’s Iowa chapter. Republican Senate Leader Bill Dix and Dr. Andrea McGuire, the president and COO of Meridian Health Plan, are the state co-chairs.
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