Senator Mike Lee has offered a tax reform plan that gives everyone a break, cutting top rates and increasing the child tax credit. He spoke about that at the Reagan Ranch last week, but his speech was also much more notable for his philosophy of governance.
Lee’s Reaganesque philosophy does not rest primarily on Reagan’s opposition to government. Instead, he reminds us that Reagan “had the cadence of compassion.” He noted that the Reagan who created that new Republican party from 1977–80 focused on the “people shouldering the brunt of big government’s failure: the working men and women of and aspiring to America’s middle class.” Lee noted that while the poor “attracted Washington’s sympathy” and the rich “could influence public policy,” the average American was “being ignored, slighted, and left behind by the political class in Washington.”
Sound familiar? Reagan’s challenge is our challenge.
Lee even unearthed a long-forgotten Reagan quote from a 1964 essay he wrote in National Review explaining why Goldwater lost. In that piece, Reagan said “we [conservatives] represent the forgotten American — that simple soul who goes to work, bucks for a raise, takes out insurance, pays for his kids’ schooling, contributes to his church and charity and knows there just ‘ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’” Lee cites this approvingly and, I believe correctly, goes on to argue that Reagan “believed government should stand on the side of the little guy against unfair concentrations of political and economic power.” Most important, Lee notes that Reagan believed “that freedom doesn’t mean you’re on your own; it means we’re all in this together.”
Yes, yes, ten thousand times yes!