Posted by: philipfontana | June 8, 2012

Bill Bradley

A New Book by Bill Bradley

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     Excuse us for living, but “We Can All Do Better,” says Bill Bradley. It’s the title of his sixth book which hit the book stores this past May 2012. He uses a passage from Abraham Lincoln’s second State of the Union as his inspiration: “We can succeed only by concert. It is not ‘Can any of us imagine better?’ but ‘Can we all do better?’” Immediately, from Lincoln’s words inferring government solutions to our problems or just by mention of Bill Bradley’s name, a liberal Democrat, some people will dismiss the book out of hand. Yet, it is a worthy read in this presidential election season. – -Plus, Bill Bradley is one of those people who, for many of us, transcends political party. The book features a number of policy prescriptions for our time to bounce around and enliven any discussion. And, Bradley has used interviews about his book to assure readers that, at age 69, this is not a campaign platform, saying he is not running for any political office.

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     I had to refresh my memory that it was Bill Bradley who was Al Gore’s chief competition for the 2000 Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. But Bill Bradley’s three terms as U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1979-1997, are still vivid memories. He made Denville his home, just “a hop, skip, and a jump,” one town away from our home in Montville. Bradley’s greatest contribution of those years was working with President Reagan and the Republicans to dramatically restructure/simplify the tax code. And hardly anyone, except the young, need be reminded of Bradley’s New York Knicks basketball fame from 1967 to 1977 with two NBA championships. He entered the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. And from his years earning a BA at Princeton, Bill was a basketball Olympic gold medalist 1964. He topped off his education with an MA from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

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     In We Can All Do Better, Bill Bradley calls a temporary “time out” from his retirement to tackle the issues that, in his view, threaten our nation’s progress. He addresses the economic crisis, our political dysfunction, the negative effect of big-money on the electoral process, and ends with America’s role as a world player in the new century. He tells us what he thinks should be done with specific recommendations:

  1. Tax labor less and things more: lower tax rates, remove loopholes, adopt a Value Added Tax, lower corporate tax rates to make the U.S. more competitive globally.
  2. Massive infrastructure investment: $1.2 trillion over 5 years, creating 5.5 million jobs per year in the process, and stimulating economic growth.
  3. Invest in R & D (Research & Development) and education: these are necessary so the American economy continues to lead and so American workers can compete globally. $50 billion over 2 years to subsidize 30% of new private sector hiring through tax breaks and incentives.
  4. Address the federal deficit: combine entitlement reform, spending cuts, and tax reform in one package, no loopholes/no earmarks/no gifts (and here he goes into the specifics as to how to proceed regarding what proportions re entitlements, spending cuts, & tax reform).
  5. Power to the People: Americans must participate in our democracy and counter the monied interests controlling the political process. He calls for a third political party to breathe  health back into the system, not at the Presidential level, but at the Congressional level!
  6. Avoid lengthy foreign wars: military intervention should not be taken lightly as a handy policy tool. Wars have negative effects on our national objectives at great cost in “lives and treasure.”
  7. Reverse the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision: via a Constitutional Amendment to limit corporate spending on political campaigns.

Interesting. Specific. Thought provoking. And whether we agree or not with former Senator Bradley’s recommendations, in the present political climate chances of most of his ideas being adopted are slim. Beyond his detailed prescription for our times, the overriding purpose of his book is to “restore hope,” to remind us that we have faced adversity in the past and, yet, “managed to pull through.” “So be optimistic…we’ll do it this time.” Bill Bradley’s We Can All Do Better is a call and challenge to all Americans to stand up, take action, and control our country’s destiny.

Comments: What do YOU think?

Sources:

We Can All Do Better, by Bill Bradley

“Citizens United,” article by Bill Bradley, May 14, 2012, Time Magazine

“A Q & A with Bill Bradley,” with Josh McMahon, May 13, 2012, Sunday Star-Ledger

“‘We Can All Do Better’: Bill Bradley’s Rx to Bring America Back to Championship Form,” May 9, 2012, The Daily Ticker (on-line), by Aaron Task

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Responses

  1. Good synopsis, Phil. And it sounds like a book everyone on politics should be quizzed on next Friday! Thanks for the review for us!

    • Chip, Thanks as always for your comments! Maybe a Friday current events quiz! Ha! Always the social studies teacher in me! I must say how you & everyone from our May 4 gathering, particularly all you characters from the Class of ’67, are so refreshing to read & hear from. There is such openness, honesty, intelligence, worthy viewpoints, appreciation of life/history/environment/the arts & all good things! Where have we all been hiding all these years! Just great that we did not let more years slip by before reconnecting! Phil

      • Phil, I agree wholeheartedly! I am so glad Jeff ordered up that party! Maybe another one in the fall? With Al Brown, Dave VanLeeuwen, Tedd Robb, etc. I know they’re out there!

      • Chip, That sounds just great! Great guys all that you named! Explain to me (fontana14@optonline.net) why I don’t hear going to a Glee Club Concert or Alumni Concert in the midst of our conversations…or is that just my mouth & ears? We are so content to get together on a quality level! Wife Geri said we really sounded great! Oh, if you look back in the “Excuse Us…” archives, you will see a post on “Friday Nights.” If you read that, you will know that I have had too much wine as I type this!!!! Phil

  2. Being purely grammatical here, that should have been “We all can do better.”………………lol


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