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Sen. Mike Lee Calls for ‘Populist Agenda’ Putting Government on Side of ‘Forgotten Am
On 02.16.17 07:26 AM posted by Caleb Ecarma
“We as conservatives can make a case for a unified, principled, and populist agenda that puts the federal government back on the side of the forgotten Americans.”
That was the message Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah delivered at a Heritage Foundation event Wednesday titled “Conservatism for the Forgotten Man.”
Lee urged conservatives to consider how they can utilize the current populist wave to promote principled policies, while also helping America’s “forgotten families” who are drawn to populism.
Lee called for conservatives to view President Donald Trump’s populism as a new opportunity, saying, “Anti-establishment conservatives, moderate and establishment Republicans, and the new populists President Trump has brought into our coalition must now find a way to work together and to govern.”
“Conservatives may not support everything this coalition does, and when we don’t, we should say so and we should make that clear, but we are a part of it now, and within it, I believe conservatives can thrive,” predicted the junior senator from Utah.
Lee went on to address two of the issues Trump ran on: jobs for the middle class and immigration reform.
In response to Trump’s stance on trade, Lee acknowledged that global capitalism has particularly hurt the American middle class.
“The way to put Americans first is not to fight against the global economy, but to put it to work for the American people … specifically for the American worker,” Lee said.
“A simple, but powerful, two-step federal tax reform would go a long way for accomplishing precisely this goal,” he added. “First, we should eliminate the federal corporate tax altogether, and then we should raise the rates on investment income, dividends, and capital gains to treat it like ordinary income.”
Lee explained that this proposal would help workers, saying, “We know that eliminating workers’ share of that tax would redirect billions of dollars from the IRS into workers’ paychecks in every industry across the country.”
Lee said that creating a zero corporate rate on profits produced by American companies and jobs would create a fiscal climate better than anywhere in the world, while also “turning the bad trade deals President Trump has decried on their heads.”
“It would deliver economic protection without the protectionism, and unlike riskier strategies like border adjustment tax and tariffs, this pro-growth, pro-worker reform would work for all Americans, as consumers, as workers, and ultimately as empowered citizens,” added Lee.
Additionally, Lee tackled one of Trump’s chief campaign promises: immigration reform.
“Immigration provides both real and tangible benefits, both to the immigrants who come here and to those of us who were born here, but that’s only half the story,” Lee said.
“Not surprisingly,” Lee said, “it is the same working families and communities being left behind by globalization that are being squeezed by competition from low-skilled immigration.”
While acknowledging there is no one solution to immigration reform, Lee did endorse Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas’ new immigration policy as a step in the right direction. According to The Washington Times, this policy would curb annual legal immigration to half of what it is now by putting a limit on immigration sponsorships from extended family members.
“Reorienting our entire immigration system around economic need, reducing low-skilled inflows, and recruiting more high-skilled immigrants to help startup businesses and new jobs would help,” Lee said.
The Utah senator also advocated this new conservatism embrace federalism, saying, “If Washington let Vermonters run Vermont, and Utahns run Utah, and New Yorkers run New York, all of the above will be happier for it [and] more prosperous for it, except maybe the Washington bureaucrats.”
“We cannot fix our broken status quo from the right or left by giving more power to the same government [that] has failed for so long,” Lee said.
This article has been modified to reflect that Sen. Tom Cotton’s immigration proposal would put*a limit on immigration sponsorships*from*extended family members.
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