Bill Bradley, former US Senator and presidential candidate, discusses his new book, We Can All Do Better, the state of US politics and the 2012 election.
EVENT: Bill Bradley will be at the Union Square Barnes & Noble Monday, May 21 at 7:00 PM.
Read. Argue. Listen. Act.
It boggles my mind that the experience of "collective memory" of the 1930's has so quickly disappeared. I was born in 1930, in a family of 12. My father was 57 years old when I was born. He was an iron worker who fortunately only spent a short time at WPA work thanks to major infrastructure work (bridges/buildings) spawned by govt. spending. Unfortuately, in the late 1930's he couldn't work because of a stroke. Social Security was a new law too late to help my father because he had contributed for only a few years. So guess how we survived? The family members all worked at menial work (low salaries) they dropped out of high school, and until WW 2 had to hold those jobs (they went into the service) Given we rarely have families of 12 anymore (that would accept this sacrifice), how can anyone seriously take the position that Social Security is such a "heavy" burden? I receive it now and depend on it in this divided nation.
samDee, those are the parameters within which the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) must operate -- or they will be removed from, oh, access for one. Perhaps their individual jobs. Maybe get fewer corporate donations if its public radio.
Back when Tip O'Neill and Reagan came to their "grand bargain" about SocSec, I was relatively young. I had no issues with paying more for a good thing, and I also thought I would have no problem working until I could get full SocSec at 66.
Yes, indeed, I thought I was strong, healthy, no problems, could work as long as I wanted to.
Ha. Life does take interesting turns.
My employer decided to have huge downsizings, somehow finding that those who were older and earning more were, well, less productive and should be culled. I had no doubt with my record and accomplishments I would get another job. But then came cancer, followed by some other ailments, and I paid for private individual health insurance. Otherwise I might die. And my savings went into the coffers of Big Insurance.
Then, I had to take SocSec earlier, by only one year, but still earlier than I'd planned. So I will have less for the rest of my life, and now the Big Money and One Percenters are trying to get their well-controlled politicians to lower what people on SocSec and Medicare get. Maybe privatize it so Big Banksters can play their money games with people's full retirement savings, not just 401K's.
Okaaaay. Life's a crap shoot, and I confess I never was very good at gambling, so...c'est la vie.
But, the Democratic Party is trashing, absolutely smashing to smithereens, it's brand image, its identity. If the Dems muck up the great social safety net programs of FDR and LBJ, it will be toast as a party. As of now, Obama is leading the party ever further to the right, which is awful. He is cementing its role as the financial party with a slight social bent as opposed to the rank greed of the Republican financial party.
If the rank and file DC Dems go there, the party will be toast. Gonzo.
So this is WNYC's vision of equal time -- the American Enterprise Institute, a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate America which refuses to reveal its funders, versus a Democratic investment banker who's all for splitting the difference between Republicans and Democrats, since he has all the money and privilege he'll ever need. And to boot, thinks he has the moral authority to advise Occupy Wallstreet -- FROM Wallstreet!
Now that's diversity of opinion!
Sen. Bradley, along with many others, never read the reports that Obama had made an agreement with the big private health insurers that, while he would talk about a public option, he would not let it get into the final health insurance profit protect act.
Yet Obama encouraged the progressives to "fight" for the public option (never defined, of course, since why would one need to when it was not going to be implemented?) -- which was, to me, not a good thing.
The people of this nation wanted, per the limited polling on single payer, "something like Medicare," or Medicare for All Improved. Obama was up front about taking that off the table, and thus limiting his negotiating room with the Republicans. Alas.
Re tea party: if Obama lost the 2008 election, there wouldn't be a party.
We just need to stop voting for Democrats and Republicans. That's it. Vote for anyone BUT a Republican and a Democrat. We would remove the vested power brokers and take back control of our government.
We have the power in our hands people. Obama and Romney are not the only choices. Likewise, Democrats and Republicans are not the only choices.
I hate to be a fatalist but I feel that the more a person does to help the system the more there will be a person that will abuse the system. Unfortunately I believe there has to be a Yin and Yang. I feel that a person has to strive to do well to be true to themselves, to attain inner peace and to achieve personal satisfaction that they have done all possible to be the best person for themselves, and by accident it should help the system. That is how I live my life. I have very little faith in American society. I feel people are like dogs- when they are being petted their tails wag and when they are being kicked they bite. Maybe I am just being too John Galt-ish.
Would Mr. Bradley favor an effort to get rid of plurality voting so that we could eliminate both the bias against third-parties and the effect of primaries forcing pols to the extremes?
The two party system is literally killing us.
To add to Sen. Bradley's anecdote re Jefferson/Hamilton: there is a good reason why Hamilton is on a $20 bill and Jefferson is on a $2 bill and nickels. When Jefferson died, he left his family deep in debt. For all Jefferson's talents, economics wasn't one of them.
Not so fast....
SocSec rates DOUBLED to provide solvency. This boost was intended to last until the Baby Boom's retirements were fully financed. The gov't has been borrowing the surplus - it has to go to work somewhere. More income needs to be subject to FICA withholding. The self-employed need to stop paying the 'employer match' at 2X median income. The rates need to go back to where they were pre-Greenspan Commission. The taxes needed to re-pay the borrowed money should come out of the pockets of the wealthy...Not the backs of the middle and poor.
Sen. Bradley might consider that the huge income disparity, enabled since the Reagan "revolution," has placed a now monstrous percentage of the nation's wealth in the hands of an extremely small number of people. These people can buy all the political power they need to stay in their catbird seat.
So, what's wrong with increasing the cap on SocSec payments?
Why not, as is often noted, go to where the money is???
Just a thought.
3 billion would cover the cost of ''we the people'' financing our elections?... how about weening israel of the 3 billion shakedown money we give them annually... they are in better shape than us... they should be giving us a handout... what we need is a one, 6 year pres. term, financed by ''we the people'', and not ''we the motivated zillionairs...
The caller who suggested that SocSec, Medicare /Medicaid are ineffective - then why are the GOP taking so many actions to destroy them???
Methinks he dost protest a bit too much.
SS benefits have been frozen & are based on a non-real-world inflation measure. The GOP now proposes a 3rd cut in SNAP/food stamps even though the benefits don't cover even half a month's food, esp. in NYS/NYC.
I am disheartened and troubled at the number of negative comments. Perhaps folks are tired from all the comments that the previous polit guest generated. Perhaps Senator Bradley does speak too monotone. But listen to what he has to to say, will you? Makes so much more sense than the first guest.
Nothing went wrong. It takes time to turn the titanic in rough seas. Obama needs the help mentioned, no doubt, but the naive approach blinded him to the "can't be done" politics of the Hill and got us a health care bill, Bin Laden and so much more.
What a difference between Bradley and Brooks. The former plants himself firmly in the great social and justice movements of American history; the latter is bogged down in a narrow, individuated narrative of self serving ambition.
Obama TRIED to engage both parties in the solutions. He was criticized and quite frankly, Eric Kantor, told Boehner that the Republicans wouln'd stand for it. What about the filibusters? What about ignorant media coverage of the birthers and "Obama is a Muslim"? It was all about prejudice, not governing.Obama has certainly compromised on some things that I wish he hadn't, but he was politically castrated (a better word may be disabled) by a racist agenda, a political agenda and quite frankly, power grabbing. There was no governing going on there with the tea party and republicanoppositionh to real disucssion about real solutions.
This philosophy of "we can all do better" reminds me of a paper I wrote in college on Samuel Smiles, a famous Victorian Era writer who during the tumultuous times that preceded the rise of socialist thinking, wrote a most famous book called "Self-Help" which exhorted both rich and poor to do better, be optimistic, save their money, and be helpful to others. From Wikipedia about Samuel Smiles and Self-Help:
"In 1859 he published the book at his own expense and risk, retaining the copyright and paying John Murray ten per cent. commission. It sold 20,000 copies within one year of its publication. By the time of Smiles' death in 1904 it had sold over a quarter of a million. Self-Help "elevated [Smiles] to celebrity status: almost overnight, he became a leading pundit and much-consulted guru"."
He was very popular, but his ideas in "Self-Help" were drowned into obscurity with the rise of socialist thinking in Britain and Europe at the turn of the century. It should be a must-read too.
Jeez, this is too painful to listen to. Borreing, monotone, one-sided, drivel.
Question: Does Mr. Bradley think the Knicks would be better off or suited if they ran the "Princeton Offense?"
My recipe for america is meee...with a lil salt
Bill Bradley supported lowering income tax rates overall, reducing the number of tax rates, and reducing income taxes upon income derived from capital transactions -- capital gains, dividends, and interest. He convinced Democrats who had usually opposed all of these things to vote in favor of them. The result has been that the very rich have become egregiously rich and the poor have become poorer.
Is he happy with that result?
Will he support a higher income tax rate upon the rich?
Will he support higher estate taxes?
One change that would not require a constitutional amendment, the federal government could limit the number of campaign ads that are broadcast on the public airwaves.
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