7:31 AM, Mar 4, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah have returned to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to tout their latest tax reform proposal. The Republicans call their plan both "pro-growth" and "pro-family," and say it addresses inequities in the tax code for businesses and middle-class families.
Here's an excerpt:
We seek to simplify the code and lower rates for families and individuals, by consolidating the seven existing tax brackets into two simple groups—15% and 35%—and by making remaining deductions available to all filers.
Our plan will also put an end to the unfair treatment of our ultimate investor class: America’s moms and dads.
In addition to eliminating the well-known marriage penalty—which taxes married couples at a higher rate than if they had filed individually—our plan will reform another, less-familiar inequity in the code: the parent tax penalty.
The current tax system charges parents twice for federal senior entitlement programs. Parents pay payroll taxes like everyone else, but they also shoulder the financial burden of raising the next generation of taxpayers, who will grow up to fund the Social Security and Medicare benefits of all future seniors. Parents, in effect, pay twice for the same Social Security and Medicare benefits as everyone else.
Therefore, to equalize the tax code’s treatment of working parents, our plan would create a new, $2,500 per-child tax credit. This credit—like the correction of the marriage penalty—eliminates an unfair distortion in the code and helps level the playing field for working families.
The family-focused elements of the plan are pure Mike Lee, who has said he wants to influence the party's presidential candidates—a group which could very well include Marco Rubio—on tax reform and other domestic issues. From a recent WEEKLY STANDARD profile of the Utah Republican:
Lee knows he isn’t the presidential candidate conservatives are looking for, but he’s got his eyes on that “positive, innovative, and unapologetically conservative agenda.” He’s not shy about the role he’d like to play. “I do want to influence that debate,” Lee says. His slate of policy proposals isn’t light fare. Since 2013, Lee has introduced bills to make the tax code more family friendly, take on cronyism in Washington, reform the college accreditation system, and change the way the federal government funds transportation infrastructure. But what Lee really wants is to change the way conservatives think about domestic policy, reorienting the Republican party toward a family-focused, constitutional populism to help the GOP win back the White House. If Lee succeeds, it will make him one of the most consequential conservatives of his generation.
Lee’s touchstone is Ronald Reagan, but not in the rote way you might think. “It’s important for us to remember that by the time 2016 rolls around, we will be about as far away from Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 as Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 was from D-Day, and it’s important for us to update our agenda to make sure that it fits the times,” says Lee. “We need to stop simply talking about Reagan and start acting like him.” That doesn’t mean slashing the marginal tax rate or getting rid of the Department of Education. Lee says acting like Reagan means applying principles of limited government, constitutionalism, and a healthy civil society to the issues of the day—namely, the rising cost of living and economic insecurity of the American middle class.
Will Utah follow Tennessee and Wyoming?9:07 AM, Feb 19, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Last November, Tennessee’s Republican governor Bill Haslam won his reelection effort resoundingly, taking 70 percent of the vote and every single county in the state. Just six weeks later, Haslam surprised nearly everyone in Tennessee’s Republican-controlled state assembly by announcing that one of his first orders of business in his second term would be to expand Medicaid under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But a month and a half later, Haslam’s Medicaid expansion was dead. The debate was over nearly as soon as it started.
Utah’s Mike Lee is the most important Republican not running for president Feb 9, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 21 • By MICHAEL WARREN
There’s an old saw in Washington that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president. Utah’s Mike Lee doesn’t, though you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Over the past two years, Lee has been delivering speeches and introducing policy proposals at a pace that far outstrips his tenure and experience. On the whole, it looks like the beginnings of a domestic policy agenda for a future presidential candidate.
Utah’s freshman senator makes his mark Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By TERRY EASTLAND
When I asked Mike Lee, the freshman Republican senator from Utah, how he identified himself politically, he said, “A constitutional conservative.” Note the adjective “constitutional.” It’s not surprising that the senator uses it.
3:26 PM, Jan 14, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Utah businessman Jeremy Johnson, who pled guilty last week to charges of bank fraud and money laundering, is claiming he made a deal in 2010 to pay Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada $600,000 to stop a federal investigation into Johnson's business. Johnson says his alleged deal with Reid was brokered by John Swallow, a Republican who was sworn in as Utah's attorney general on January 7, and a fellow businessman from Utah, Richard Rawle.
12:52 PM, Nov 7, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Democrat Jim Matheson of Utah has won a tight race against Republican challenger Mia Love. The only Democrat in the Utah congressional delegation, Matheson bested Love by 1 percentage point. Here's more from the Deseret News:
6:01 PM, Nov 2, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican House candidate Mia Love of Utah has a 12-point lead over her Democratic opponent, incumbent member Jim Matheson, in a new poll from the Salt Lake Tribune. According to the poll, 52 percent of voters in Utah's Fourth District support Love, while 40 percent support Matheson.
11:43 AM, Oct 2, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Republican House candidate Mia Love of Utah leads her opponent, Democratic congressman Jim Matheson, by six points, according to a new poll from the Deseret News and KSL-TV. Love has 49 percent support in Utah's new Fourth Congressional District, while Matheson has 43 percent support. Here's more from the News:
7:16 AM, Sep 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A printed mailer sent out by the Utah Democratic party features what appears to be a darkened photo of Republican House candidate Mia Love. Below is the image of the mailer:
Here's the original photograph, in color:
12:50 PM, Sep 26, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Utah Republican Mia Love has pulled ahead of Democratic congressman Jim Matheson, according to an internal poll released by the Love campaign. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Love leads Matheson 51 percent to 36 percent; the same poll found Matheson leading Love 51 percent to 38 percent in July, before Love's well received address to the Republican National Convention.
10:52 AM, Jul 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Senator Mike Lee criticized President Obama's and the Democrats' plan to raise taxes, saying that "their proposal would leave 94% of this year's deficit intact, which makes it an inherently unserious proposal insofar as it relates to deficit reduction."
11:19 PM, Jun 26, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Six-term Republican senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is projected to win his primary against challenger Dan Liljenquist, the Associated Press reports.
A GOP star emerges in the Beehive State.12:40 PM, May 14, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Mia Love, the 36-year-old mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah and Republican candidate for Congress in the state’s newly created Fourth District, is something of a political anomaly. A conservative and a Mormon, Love would be the first black female Republican in Congress ever.