Alice Rivlin

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Alice Rivlin
Alice Rivlin.jpg
Chair of the District of Columbia Financial Control Board
In office
September 1, 1998 September 30, 2001
Preceded by Andrew Brimmer
Succeeded byPosition abolished
16th Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve
In office
June 25, 1996 July 16, 1999
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Alan Blinder
Succeeded by Roger Ferguson
Member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors
In office
June 25, 1996 July 16, 1999
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Alan Blinder
Succeeded by Mark W. Olson
30th Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office
October 17, 1994 April 26, 1996
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Leon Panetta
Succeeded by Frank Raines
1st Director of the Congressional Budget Office
In office
February 24, 1975 August 31, 1983
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded by Rudolph G. Penner
Personal details
Georgianna Alice Mitchell

(1931-03-04)March 4, 1931
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 2019(2019-05-14) (aged 88)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political party Democratic
Lewis Rivlin
(m. 1955;div. 1977)

(m. 1989)
Relatives Allan C. G. Mitchell (father)
Samuel Alfred Mitchell (grandfather)
Education Bryn Mawr College (BA)
Harvard University (MA, PhD)

Alice Mitchell Rivlin (born Georgianna Alice Mitchell; March 4, 1931 – May 14, 2019) was an American economist and budget official. During her career, Dr. Rivlin served as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, and founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office. She was the first woman to hold either role. Rivlin was an expert on the U.S. federal budget and macroeconomic policy. She was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and visiting professor at Georgetown University. Rivlin also co-chaired, with former Senator Pete Domenici, the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force. [1]


Early life and education

Georgianna Alice Mitchell was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of Georgianna Peck (Fales) [2] and Allan C. G. Mitchell. [3] She was the granddaughter of the astronomer Samuel Alfred Mitchell. [4] She was Jewish. [5] She grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, where her father was on the faculty of Indiana University. [6] She briefly attended University High School in Bloomington before leaving to attend high school at Madeira School. She then went on to study at Bryn Mawr College. Initially, she wanted to major in history, but after taking an economics course at Indiana University, she decided to change her major to economics. [7]

Rivlin earned her Bachelor of Arts in 1952, writing her senior thesis on the economic integration of Western Europe, and upon graduation, she moved to Europe where she worked on the Marshall Plan. Originally, Rivlin wanted to attend graduate school in public administration but was rejected on the grounds that she was a woman of marriageable age. Rivlin earned a Ph.D. in economics from Radcliffe College of Harvard University in 1958. [7]


Alice Rivlin was affiliated several times with the Brookings Institution, including stints in 1957–1966, 1969–1975, 1983–1993, and 1999 to her death. She was a visiting professor at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. From 1968 to 1969, she was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. In 1971 she authored Systematic Thinking for Social Action. She was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1973. [8]

The Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 1997. Rivlin is seated far left. FOMC 00072 (13896598810).jpg
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 1997. Rivlin is seated far left.

Rivlin was the first director of the newly established Congressional Budget Office (CBO) during 1975–1983. She was a persistent and vociferous critic of Reaganomics as head of the CBO. In 1983, she won a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award. Under President Bill Clinton she served as the deputy director of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 1993 to 1994, director of OMB from 1994 to 1996, and a governor of the Federal Reserve from 1996 to 1999, during which time she served as the Fed's vice-chair. She was also chair of the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority from 1998 to 2001. [6] [9]

In 2012, she received a Foremother Award from the National Research Center for Women & Families. [10]

Rivlin was on the Board of Directors at the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD). The institute was created at the University of Arizona after the tragic shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, that killed 6 people and wounded 13 others. [11]

Debt reduction/fiscal management panels in 2010

Rivlin and former Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) were named in January 2010 to chair a Debt Reduction Task Force, sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. [12]

Rivlin soon thereafter was named by President Obama to his 18-member bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform panel chaired by former Senator Alan K. Simpson, (R-WY), and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D), commonly known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. The balance of the panel is three more members appointed by the President, six members of the United States House of Representatives, and six members of the United States Senate. The commission first met on April 27, 2010, and had a December report deadline. [13] A health-care component of the overall U.S. federal and state fiscal-management challenge was addressed by a panel including Rivlin on The Diane Rehm Show in June. [14]

Along with former Comptroller General David Walker, Rivlin danced the Harlem Shake in a video produced by The Can Kicks Back, a nonpartisan group that aims to organize millennials to pressure lawmakers to address the United States' $16.4 trillion debt. [15] The video concludes with her making an importuned plea to the twenty-somethings seated around the room: "There's no dancing around the fact that more needs to be done quickly to put our future debt on a downward track. But our leaders need to hear from you."

Rivlin in 2011 Alice Rivlin urging Supercommittee.jpg
Rivlin in 2011

Personal life

Rivlin was of Cornish ancestry. [16] In 1955, she married former Justice Department attorney Lewis Allen Rivlin of the Rivlin family, with whom she had three children; [17] they divorced in 1977. [18] In 1989, she married economist Sidney G. Winter. [6] She died in Washington, D.C., on May 14, 2019, aged 88. [19] [6]



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  1. "Alice M. Rivlin | Bipartisan Policy Center". January 3, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  2. "Who's who in America: Supplement to Who's who, a current biographical reference service". 1940.
  3. "Alice Rivlin, Fed vice chair who was deficit hawk, dies at 88". Pensions & Investments. May 14, 2019. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  4. "Samuel A. Mitchell - Director, 1913-1945". Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  5. Maisel, Louis Sandy (2001). Jews in American Politics. ISBN   9780742501812 . Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Hershey Jr., Robert D. (May 14, 2019). "Alice M. Rivlin, Leading Government Economist, Dies at 88". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  7. 1 2 "American Economic Association". Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  8. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter R" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
  9. Rivlin Wants to Aid Home Rule
  10. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. "Alice Rivlin". National Institute for Civil Discourse. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  12. ""The Domenici/Rivlin Debt Reduction Task Force" by Kathryn Nix". The Foundry. The Heritage Foundation. January 26, 2010. Archived from the original on January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  13. "White House: Getting to the Root Causes of Our Fiscal Challenges". . April 27, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2019 via National Archives.
  14. "Medicare Reimbursment Rates and Deficit Spending" with Stuart Guterman of The Commonwealth Fund, Ron Pollack of Families USA, and Brian Riedl of The Heritage Foundation, The Diane Rehm Show, June 15, 2010. Retrieved June 15, 2010.
  15. Ashton, Kevin (March 28, 2013). "How Memes Are Orchestrated by the Man". The Atlantic.
  16. Paulette Olson, Engendering Economics: Conversations With Women Economists in the United States, Routledge, March 29, 2002
  17. STEVEN GREENHOUSE (June 28, 1994). "SHAKE-UP AT THE WHITE HOUSE: BUDGET DIRECTOR Woman in the News; A Hawk on Budgets – Alice Mitchell Rivlin – The New York Times". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  18. Chicago Tribune: "Ex-husband of Fed official ordered to pay $6.5 million" August 29, 2001
  19. "Alice Rivlin, First Woman To Serve As Budget Director, Dies At Age 88". Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  20. "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  21. "American Economic Association". Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  22. "Foremother and Health Policy Hero Awards Luncheon". National Center for Health Research. May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  23. Tom Shoop. "Inaugural Inductees Into Government Hall of Fame Unveiled - Government Executive". Retrieved August 16, 2019.
Government offices
New office Director of the Congressional Budget Office
Succeeded by
Rudolph G. Penner
Preceded by
Alan Blinder
Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve
Succeeded by
Roger Ferguson
Preceded by
Andrew Brimmer
Chair of the District of Columbia Financial Control Board
Position abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Leon Panetta
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Succeeded by
Frank Raines