Bill Bradley's Better America
Former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ) tells Alan why he believes that America is moving in the wrong direction.
- Duration 12:21
- Date May 8, 2012
Former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ) tells Alan why he believes that America is moving in the wrong direction.
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Bradley your microphone -- the US senate senate in 1997.
2000 ran for president on the democratic ticket seeking the nomination.
Was I understand it one time he played basketball or simply -- Many years ago -- Young man death and the knicks could use your right now aren't.
Or so it seems the new political we can all do better what course -- operations of this book.
Well last summer during the debt crisis you know the debt limit fiasco.
I could add something because he really looked out there and I saw.
The debt limit debacle I saw the middle class stagnant income side saw.
Two wars still going and I found a lot of people who are losing hope -- -- wanted to write to spoke to.
Generate hope the people that and remind them that we've had difficult situations in the past we've had wars and depressions we've had.
All kinds of things that we've overcome.
And I wanted to remind them basically the American people are good.
And that we can control our own death to me that you are from institutions are flexible enough to allow us to solve our problems.
Who we meter politicians who put country -- a party.
And tell people the truth.
It really is a book of hope and I wonder.
Do you feel that the president hasn't delivered on the hope and change -- -- enough.
I think that the present has been subverted.
By this system in which is operating.
In particular the role of money in politics.
For example if you take 209.
And ten there's two years financial industry contributed to.
Million dollars politicians in Morse and health care industry -- 145.
Then energy industry 75.
So is it any wonder that we've got to water down financial reform bill notes public option with the health care and no energy bill at all.
Mean I think -- you the issue is not present the issues the system which any president works and it's one that's -- dominated by money.
And extremism and extremism comes from.
Districting system that rewards people on the fringes of the left infringes on the right.
How do you change the system it's wonderful to elect people who do offer us open changed but as you point out he probably gets -- -- -- frustrated result they get money.
The combat the other side and and how do you change that system.
Well I think ultimately it's up to I mean let's think back kid in 2008 on that night in Chicago on election night.
And -- we all thought that may be a leader.
Could renew America alone put even somebody with -- is deeply as Barack Obama can do that alone.
And it needs citizens.
I mean if you take a -- can meet sergeants the lieutenants.
Leader -- -- -- the direction is that the sergeants lieutenants and its citizens make it happen and you have to have committed citizens.
-- -- every significant change in the country practically.
Started with a citizen movement there was only one abolitionist and -- -- that slavery was morally wrong -- let's send it.
There was only one suffragists who said we need to give women the right to vote.
There was only one environmentalist.
-- that we need to clean up our air and water there was only one civil rights workers it's that we have to make good on the promise.
But constitution to African Americans.
And yet they -- and they effected the politics of our of those times and they pushed congressmen senators to take action.
The real change comes from citizens and that means that you know there's no excuse for inaction.
And that's an important point is not a vicarious experience.
That was formed New Jersey senator Bill Bradley the new book is we can all do better you mentioned the civil rights leader -- who stood up and Irish have senior preferred referring to.
-- Luther king if you pointed out.
He had on his side a legislator.
And and then a president then Lyndon Johnson who was able to enact so much of the -- What would mark with -- -- passionately.
It takes more than one.
Platform to get this stuff done.
-- and it sure doesn't look at the difference between the you can hardly at all surprised at his party has very specific objective roll back government and had a tactic which was let's -- people's congress.
-- ninth 2010 they elected 10-Q that is 43 people to congress.
And win Boehner and Obama agreed in principle on report trillion dollar disaster reduction Boehner took it back to -- -- in the Tea Party.
-- -- And almost brought this country to the brink of bankruptcy that's how quickly can things can change.
Then you look at occupied.
And they had a great slogan where the 99%.
Three point the real issue inequality in the country.
But they had no specific program and they chose not to get involved in electoral politics.
And the point there is this that passion was enough.
If you look at the mid 1960s.
And -- You needed to Martin Luther King junior's passion dreaming moral force and needed Lyndon Johnson's ability to move cutting through congress to transform America's.
Do we need it does Obama need to be more like a Lyndon Johnson for example -- that he has simply can't for awhile there had the wind under the wind it is back.
But it does he not do as well as Johnson because who who Johnson was and what his personality.
No I don't think you can -- Paris -- at a time now where money is so dominant let me give you an example when I ran for the senate in 1978.
My primary and general election campaign cost one point 68 million dollars in 2000.
A person who replaced me Jon Corzine stood six feet three million to.
And that's just amplify that all around them during and during the period 1998.
When -- financial reform was made.
When in 1990 the ten largest banks -- 10% of the financial assets in the country.
And now have 75%.
Of the -- in the country during that time profound change the financial industry contributed two billion dollars.
To politicians in Washington.
One of the -- you advocate for -- to do away with a mortgage interest deduction.
But we -- that have to do that across.
A broad spectrum of special interest and not just.
Hello I'm not arguing for -- liquidate the mortgage interest deductions.
I'm making the point that -- we're going to have real tax reform the way you get lower rates is -- closing loopholes.
And then you could make mortgage interest deduction and the much in the big.
Deductible against the 28% rate in 35% rate.
So you end up with -- -- paying more without having to operate so.
I think you know wanna do it -- I -- little surprise that may -- -- misunderstood or read out of context but.
He just wanted to change the rates not the.
I don't mean I lay.
Four or five ways that we could raise taxes -- -- would -- a transaction tax of a couple of cents on each trade that's made there -- six billion trades made every day I could generate.
To -- 300 billion dollars a year.
And the real point -- make his.
The middle class in the last.
Thirty years has really taken it on the chin for example.
-- median income in this country the same as it was in 1996.
66 million Americans live one paycheck away from economic catastrophe.
And what do we do we have to create a system where we get more jobs more good paying jobs for that to happen.
We need to understand where the money is right now one point eight trillion dollars on the books of none financial corporations in this country in cash and an Indian tradable instruments.
And so how do we get them to spend twenty person that on hiring people which would reduce the unemployment rate to 5%.
They argue they need confidence.
And they need for.
And so confident you address -- Getting a big deficit reduction package that goes down and do this out years -- deal with -- of everything from defense to entitlements to taxes.
And -- -- need to.
For the for them for the demand side.
Need a massive infrastructure program that could be financed by the Chinese.
Because the Chinese will have the dollars we reduce the budget deficit we won't need to spend the money on the deficit.
On the the deficit -- -- anymore well we can use this Chinese dollars to finance.
And -- the economic foundation for the next thirty years.
You'll says he's been I think in terms of -- hole here goes a suggesting third congressional party.
I say that you know there are times in American history where.
-- points of view are irreconcilable.
An example right before civil war.
What happens is political conflict while businesses blog posts and ultimately one party like -- the floor with the other party.
And that is one way that you can get action the other way is if you roughly -- you need bipartisan action that was who it was during nineteen years in the senate for example.
-- lot of things on a bipartisan basis.
But -- neither of those things two -- you can't get him dominant party and you stuck with.
And the country's agenda in terms of the middle class in terms of deficits in terms of political reform.
In terms of those things.
Are not addressed there could emerge -- third congressional party not a presidential party a congressional party after almost congress in the last fall that had.
They reelect number of 6% when Barack Obama was at its lowest which was 40%.
He if you could elect particular congressional pardon three or four.
Programs -- for ideas such as a constitutional amendment to limit the amount of money and political campaigns such as.
Reducing the deficit I -- very specific steps a reduction programs such as.
Massive infrastructure investments such as the new tax system that -- -- more than employment.
And you would then be able to go to congress what's the ranch it's the district she won 20/20 five you do it before from a power.
And you could use that power in order to get.
Votes from both sides by trading votes to get their votes for.
Kind of reform package.
And maybe maybe -- just might break the deadlock.
I -- a very interesting to read that you've that Dick Lugar who's your favorite senator.
And yet he's in trouble.
He is in trouble I think -- -- -- for part time the Republican Party has been hijacked.
Via the people who were the most extreme.
-- -- give them credit there organize and they're moving toward elections.
But the result is that the country is losing really good Republicans that knew how to work with Democrats.
And who knew how to legislate.
Now you're getting people in there that are extreme and don't want to compromise our -- -- the system is based upon compromise.
From the very beginning.
-- in less we have people who understand that there will be no progress on the big issues that we face.
My thought is easier favored senator or for your favorite Republican senator is a progressive Democrat -- surprise that you picked.
Dick Lugar you know I that I thought that he was the most effective senator -- -- him a lot he did a lot of wonderful things we worked well together I got a lot of friends and essentially is not the only one.
And you know miss electoral politics -- taken.
No I don't.
Very happy doing what I'm doing and -- you know my dream is that this book will give people some hope and I don't know that there and control their own --