Alice Rivlin a senior economist at the Brookings Institution and an expert on the federal budget said she believes the President and Congress will reach an agreement to avoid the mandatory tax and spending cuts known as the Fiscal Cliff. Speaking recently at COG’s Annual Meeting Rivlin called the budgetary predicament a major but also “artificial elementary” problem about which we should all be outraged.
Rivlin outlined her solution for averting the cliff and improving the country’s long-term fiscal situation which includes raising taxes and broadening the tax base by eliminating many deductions. As for spending cuts which Rivlin noted are “even harder” to deal with than the tax issues she suggested focusing on reducing the exponential growth in health care spending by changing incentives and reducing benefits for higher-income individuals.
Rivlin closed on positive note applauding the work of COG and other organizations in helping prepare for change. “This region is a great place to be and we’re not going to be derailed!” said Rivlin. “Whatever happens on the fiscal cliff we should all be very glad that we live here” given that metro Washington’s economy has shown itself quick to adapt and as the nation’s most-educated region is poised for success in the knowledge economy.
Rivlin also noted that the region’s recent long-term planning efforts have put metropolitan Washington in a great position to continue to thrive. “COG’s major planning efforts including Region Forward and Economy Forward represent serious forward thinking and will pay off” said Rivlin. “They’re helping make metropolitan Washington a model region for the nation.”
To further help the region prepare COG recently launched the Metropolitan Washington Fiscal Cliff web site which includes news resources and analysis on the regional impact of major changes in federal spending. At the site you can also read more about Rivlin’s speech and recommendations.