Bill Bradley awarded 2018 SIEPR Prize

BILL BRADLEY, the Democratic senator who was instrumental in crafting the bipartisan tax reform bill of 1986, is this year’s recipient of the SIEPR Prize. He will receive the award during an event hosted at Stanford on April 5.

The Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR) gives the award every other year to a scholar or policymaker who has deeply influenced economic policy.

Bill Bradley
Bill Bradley

“We are delighted to honor Bill Bradley with the SIEPR Prize,” said MARK DUGGAN, the Trione Director of SIEPR and the Wayne and Jodi Cooperman Professor of Economics at Stanford. “His tireless efforts on behalf of better economic policy throughout his Senate career and in the years since helped to improve America’s living standards and to enhance our economic growth.”

Bradley served as a senator from New Jersey from 1979 to 1997. During his tenure, the one-time forward for the New York Knicks sat on the Senate Finance Committee and developed a reputation as a lawmaker comfortable with delving into policy issues and working across party lines.

He played a key role in reforming the federal tax code in 1986, while Republicans controlled the Senate and White House, and Democrats led the House. Bradley co-authored the Fair Tax Plan with House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt in 1982. The legislative proposal championed broadening the tax base through loophole-closing with simpler, lower tax rates. Eventually, it became the framework for Ronald Reagan’s 1986 tax reform. The Senate passed the bill in the summer of 1986 with only three opposing votes.

The 1986 reform simplified the tax system and shrank the number of tax brackets from 15 to four. It reduced marginal tax rates for individuals and corporations and lowered the capital gains rate. About 6 million low-income families were exempted from federal income taxes by an expansion of the standard deduction, personal exemption and earned income tax credits.

By closing billions of dollars in personal and corporate tax loopholes, the tax reform act remained revenue neutral.

Bradley is now a managing director of Allen & Company LLC, a member of the board of directors of Starbucks, and the host of “American Voices,” a weekly show on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

He’s also no stranger to Stanford. Bradley was the Payne Distinguished Professor at the university’s Institute for International Studies (now the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies) during the 1997-98 academic year. And in 2001, he was chosen to deliver the address at the Class Day luncheon for seniors and their families during Commencement weekend.

The SIEPR Prize was inspired and first funded by GEORGE SHULTZ, who served as President Richard Nixon’s budget director and secretary of Labor and Treasury and later led the State Department in the Reagan administration.

“Naming Bill Bradley the 2018 SIEPR Prize winner is an inspired choice,” said Shultz, who is the honorary chair of SIEPR’s advisory board.

Recipients of the SIEPR Prize are selected by Shultz, Duggan, JOHN SHOVEN, the Charles R. Schwab Professor of Economics, and JIM POTERBA, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Read the entire story on the SIEPR website.