(CNN) - Former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley on Sunday said too few elected officials are willing to tell the truth about how to solve the country's financial problems.
According to the one-time Democratic presidential candidate, the ideal fix requires a number of steps, including raising taxes across a broad spectrum of people.
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"The deficit is one problem - and that requires taxes on a lot of people, not just the wealthy," Bradley said on CNN's "State of the Union."
While President Barack Obama proposes increasing taxes on the very wealthy as part of a deficit-reduction plan, Bradley said the magnitude of the country's debt requires a wider pool of revenue.
"No one's saying that right now, and someone has to say it," Bradley told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "If we're going to succeed, we have to face our problems squarely."
By the beginning of next year, Congress is tasked with reaching a deficit-reduction deal as it faces another vote on raising the debt ceiling. It's widely expected to result in a bitter showdown similar to the summer-long debt debacle of 2011.
At the same time, the former senator, who recently released the book "We Can All Do Better," also countered some conservative proposals for shrinking the debt, namely the notion of rolling back spending and the size of government.
"But we also know that government is central to our lives," he said, pointing to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, Social Security and Medicare as crucial services provided by taxpayer dollars.
"Government is the foundation of this country," he added.
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