Lee advocates government reform agenda around the family

Sen, Mike Lee, proposes public lands amendment, file photo | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON, D. C. — Sen. Mike Lee gave remarks Tuesday at a policy summit hosted by Heritage Action for America outlining many of the challenges American families face as a result of dysfunctional government policy.  He said too often Washington leaves behind hardworking families and that a new reform agenda should focus more on protecting the economic and social capital that married households provide.

“The family has always been the linchpin of American life, but today more than ever the health of the family is indivisible from the destiny of our nation,” Lee said. But, he said, “as American families approached the new economic challenges with their characteristic boldness and optimism, Washington responded with its characteristic lethargy and dysfunction.”

Lee outlined several major challenges that families face today – such as rising health care costs, the explosion in the price of higher education, and inefficient and ineffective transportation, labor, and housing systems – and pinned the dysfunction squarely on Washington’s inability to change the status quo.

“These are not stresses put on the family by the free market, or globalization, or income inequality, or even by corrosive trends in popular culture,” Lee said. “They are the product of sclerotic government policies that are imposed on the American people by politicians who respond to change by doubling down on status quo policies we already know don’t work.”

“This is not how a government of, by, and for the people is supposed to conduct itself. Our economy and society are constantly changing. The government’s job isn’t to micromanage or resist those changes, but to remove any barriers facing the American people as they adapt to them,” Lee said.

“As Lincoln wisely counseled, the ‘leading object’ of government should be to ‘lift artificial weights’ from all shoulders and “clear the paths of laudable pursuit’ for all – especially for the working moms and dads the status quo is leaving behind.”

Lee suggested several solutions to help improve economic opportunity and mobility for families, such as making higher education more affordable and accessible by allowing students to use federal loans for a wider variety of educational options.

“Non-traditional students who have been locked out of the current system – like working parents – deserve to be able to use federal student loans and grants to acquire the skills they need, at a price that’s right, and on a schedule that works for them,” he said.

Lee also argued that it’s time for policymakers to recognize that the family is both an economic unit as well as the “shaper of human character.”

“It is everyone’s primary source of human and social capital: skills and habits like empathy, self-control, and trust that facilitate our pursuit of happiness. By teaching us what it means to live with duties and obligations toward others, the family prepares us for citizenship and teaches us how to live as members of a community,” said Lee.

We need to acknowledge that the family is both a moral institution with economic implications and an economic institution with moral implications.”

Submitted by the office of Sen. Mike Lee; emphases included as italicized in the release


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  • utahbiller January 13, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Strong unions with effective apprenticeship programs would raise wages for working class Americans. Why does Lee not support unionized labor?

    • Big Guy January 13, 2015 at 2:53 pm

      The United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers and the various airline industry unions were all “strong unions.” And all played a useful role decades ago in securing reasonable wages and benefits for their members. But with their monopoly control of labor, they all overplayed their hands and bankrupted the companies they held hostage. The auto workers and steel workers unions are mere shadows of their former glory days as a result of union greed.

      Today, public employee unions are overplaying their hands. Witness the ludicrously large pensions being awarded to retiring public employees across the country with California serving as the poster child. Public employee unions bargain with the people they help elect with their very large campaign contributions. They are consistently among the largest donors to Democrat campaigns. Not surprisingly, “blue” states that have consistently elected Democrats are only now discovering that taxes can’t be raised fast enough to make good on the lavish pensions promised public employees. Think California, Illinois, and Rhode Island; the list goes on.

      Unions played an important role in the early and middle parts of the last century. Some today are striving for the good of their members and the companies for whom they work. But some of the largest were reactionary forces both politically and economically, squeezing the life out of companies and entire industries for short sighted, short term gains. That’s why any thoughtful observer of modern America does not automatically support unions and why they represent an ever-declining percentage of private sector workers. Most private sector workers continue to reject union representation. Public employee unions are the only ones growing and represent a cancer awaiting a cure: the bankruptcy of state and local governments, a la Stockton, CA.

    • Dana January 13, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      “Why does Lee not support unionized labor?”
      Because the unions already have the Dems. in their pockets. Not enough room for two sets of crooks.

    • Brian January 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Because unions are a self-serving nightmare? There was a time unions made sense, when workers really were being exploited and working conditions really were horrible. The number 1 reason there is no longer a real auto industry in America? Unions. They start out with good intentions but turn into the mafia until they “negotiate” their members out of a job because it becomes impossible to profitably do business with them. But they extract their dues until the last penny is gone (reducing union dues and union boss compensation are never part of the negotiations).

  • arts and letters January 13, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    “The family has always been the linchpin of American life…”

    Let’s not kid ourselves, Mr. Lee. The linchpin of American life has always been greed and money. You know this as well as I do, but it doesn’t sound as good as “family values.” We don’t and have never lived in a Norman Rockwell America. Looked great in the paintings and on magazine covers, but reality has always been something other. And in this “family values” state, can anyone tell me why the banks look like temples?

    • BunnyRabbit2015 January 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I think you know

      • Evil twins Mommy January 13, 2015 at 6:46 pm

        Hey DummyRabbit Oh wow you must really be exhausted after taking the time to put a comment like that together. you better lay down and get some sleep that way you can wake up fresh and go trolling

    • Koolaid January 14, 2015 at 10:19 am

      He’s just giving his Utah followers lip service. In Utah, you have to say “family oriented, traditional values, conservative….” and express your hatred for Obama, Democrats, Liberals, etc… if you want the people to vote for you. It’s not about actual performance; it’s lip service.

  • Ron January 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    “Lee suggested several solutions . . ?” I see one. The rest sounds like the usual political BS.

  • St. George Senior January 14, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    All this from a guy that voted to cut food assistance for children, and cuts to Veterans programs.

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