Bill Bradley on Budget & Economy

2000 Democratic Primary Challenger for President


Define national interest in human terms, not economic terms

This country has been good at building an economic infrastructure. But for far too long we’ve neglected our social infrastructure. We’re economically healthy, but are we socially or spiritually healthy? What chance does one family have against the global economic order that requires companies to downsize in order to compete? The new global economy doesn’t care about your dinner hour, or that you have too little time to help with the kids’ homework. The virtuous circle for national prosperity can be a vicious circle for parents.

We need to look ahead to our national interests in human terms, not just economic ones. A prosperity that fails to bolster families is hollow and unsustainable. Our work life and our family life should be in sync with each other and not in fierce competition.

Nations are judged not by their gross national product, but by how they care for the weakest and most helpless of their citizens, especially their children, and how they create contexts in which families can thrive

Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p. 67-70 , Aug 15, 2000

Fiscal restraint, open markets, invest in future

    These are the policies that must be continued and about which there is a rough political consensus:
  1. Pursuing a prudent fiscal policy, meaning a federal budget balanced or in surplus and the lowest possible tax rates for the highest number of people.
  2. Following a sound monetary policy. Inflation targeting must remain the Fed’s central objective, but alongside it should also be sensitivity to unemployment.
  3. Keeping our markets open and capital flowing freely throughout the world. An open world economy means more potential customers for American products.
  4. Investing in education and research.
  5. Promoting the growth and dynamism of our businesses by keeping the focus on shareholder value. That translates into public policies that prevent fraud, support efficiency, reward performance, and appreciate the importance of bringing together technological genius and willing capital.
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p.125-30 , Aug 15, 2000

Prosperity is a means to an end; goal is solving problems

We live at a time of unprecedented prosperity. But what are we doing with that prosperity? After eight years of a booming economy, are the important things-our health care system, our schools, our community lives, our family lives, our children’s future- truly better? A robust economy isn’t an end in itself; it’s a mean to an end. We can now address problems such as inadequate health care, mediocre public education, and entrenched poverty-problems that, if we solve them, will make us stronger as a nation
Source: The Journey From Here, by Bill Bradley, p. 19 , Aug 15, 2000

Disappointed, but voted for Clinton economic recovery plan

In 1993 Senator Bill Bradley was going to vote for Clinton's economic plan even though he was disappointed with it. The plan was a nest of contradictions: deficit reduction but more spending for investments; cutting some spending but increasing spending elsewhere for political reasons; raising taxes but not closing tax loopholes. The biggest disappointment, though, was not changing the way business was done. It should have been bolder, a plan designed to transform the debate from business as usual to a higher plane, some larger purpose. Clinton should have tried to force a change in the way people thought about public spending, reduce the transfers from one person to another in the entitlements programs, shed some of the baggage. Clinton should have forced a choice, made it the vote of a legislator's lifetime. But this didn't come close.
Source: The Agenda, by Bob Woodward, p.182-183 , Jun 6, 1994

Early supporter of simplifying taxes, cutting deficit & debt

Bradley [said] that he would be better at maintaining the nation’s prosperity because he has a track record of predicting changes in the economy. Bradley referred to his early support in the 1980’s for cutting the deficit, reducing Third World debt and simplifying the tax code. Bradley also said he would increasingly highlight the economic benefits of his health care proposal, which he said would provide the equivalent of a $25 billion-a-year tax cut for people earning less than $50,000 a year.
Source: New York Times, p. A17, on 2000 election , Jan 25, 2000

More for tech education since tech created surplus

BRADLEY [to Gore]: We have tremendous economic growth driven by technological change and globalization, innovation, entrepreneurship in the private sector. That is producing this tremendous surplus. That means we can do more to try to help community colleges. I’ve proposed a way to do that-$2 billion for community colleges-because that’s where people learn more so that they can earn more for a lifetime. Al wants to spend $127 billion on defense increases and wants to spend less than that for education.

GORE: I’ve presided over the so-called reinventing government program to downsize our federal bureaucracy, including, more than any other, the Pentagon and the Defense Department. But even as we’ve kept our military strong, we’ve turned the biggest deficits into the biggest surpluses in history. Now we have an opportunity to invest in education & human services. And if you work in the field of human services, you know how important Medicaid is to the people who receive those human services.

Source: Democrat Debate in Johnston Iowa , Jan 8, 2000

America’s prosperity must also benefit the poor

Q: Is the shift in power from Washington to Wall Street a healthy development?
A: There’s no question that we are moving to a new world driven by technological change and globalization. Our productivity in this country has increased. That means we have more money. Now some of that money goes to people who’ve made investments. But the challenge for leadership in this country is to take this unprecedented prosperity and turn it to the benefit of those who have been left behind.
Source: Democratic Debate in Durham, NH , Jan 5, 2000

Don’t raise taxes during economic downturns

[Bradley indicated he was not] willing to raise taxes to finance programs during an economic downturn. Recessions are the best time to cut tax rates, he said. “You don’t raise taxes in bad economic times,” Bradley said. “That’s when you cut taxes, Raising taxes in dire economic times makes the economy worse. That’s when you put money in people’s pockets.”
Source: Boston Globe on 2000 race, p. A18 , Dec 7, 1999

Re-appoint Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman

I voted against Alan Greenspan the first time he was appointed. I thought he didn’t have enough international experience, and I voted for him the second time when I was proven wrong. I think that the most important thing that you can have with a Federal Reserve chairman is somebody who has the confidence of the financial markets. Alan Greenspan has that. There are probably other people who do have it as well. I would urge the president to reappoint him next year to another four-year term.
Source: NBC’s “Meet the Press” , Aug 1, 1999

Open markets; low taxes; research investments

The government has to have a prudent fiscal policy. We have to keep our markets open. We have to keep capital flowing freely around the world. We have to have the lowest possible tax rates for the greatest number of Americans. And we have to make an investment in research in both the public and private sectors. If the government gets those big things right, then I think the dynamism of the private sector [will] guarantee us a very good growth rate.
Source: www.billbradley.com/ “On the economy” 5/19/99 , May 19, 1999

Other candidates on Budget & Economy: Bill Bradley on other issues:
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George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
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Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
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Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
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