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Senator Mike Lee Plays Role of Jack Kemp

An interesting profile of US Senator Mike Lee of Utah appeared in The Weekly Standard. Mike Lee is called the most important Republican NOT running for President, and the Senator’s role in the Republican Party is compared to that of Jack Kemp.

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.

If the Republican party needs another Reagan, Lee wants to fill the role of Jack Kemp, who as a junior congressman took the lead in formulating the tax cuts that were central to Reagan’s agenda once he took office. Like Kemp, Lee has made tax reform his signature issue, despite not having a seat on the tax-writing Finance Committee. The target of Lee’s tax proposal is what he calls the “parent tax penalty.” Parents, like everyone else, pay some combination of income and payroll taxes. The “penalty,” Lee says, is that parents also bear the costs of raising children who will grow up to become taxpayers themselves. The current child tax credit isn’t enough to offset these additional costs. Lee’s plan looks a lot like other Republican tax reform ideas—simplifying the brackets, lowering rates, removing costly deductions—while adding an extra $2,500-per-child tax credit that can apply to any parent’s combined tax liability. It’s money that could pay for child-care costs or cover expensive dental work or even help one parent stay home to raise the kids.

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Ben Sasse Endorsed By Omaha Newspaper

The Omaha World-Herald endorsed Republican US Senate candidate Ben Sasse today. Their endorsement editorial is a compelling read:

World-Herald editorial: Sasse offers energy, ideas for Senate


He rose to national prominence with astonishing speed, largely with his dissection of the Affordable Care Act and his own detailed alternative proposal.

On that and other issues, he describes his political philosophy as that of “a market-oriented conservative who believes in decentralized solutions wherever possible.” He favors a lower-regulation environment that frees businesses and local communities to create jobs. He also supports spending policies that make national security a priority and says the nation’s debt, not just deficit spending, must come down.

As he summed up in a conservative magazine, the Weekly Standard: “I want to fight for what I call humble politics — a Washington that does fewer things, but does the more important things, more aggressively, more transparently, more urgently, with less screaming.”

That’s in the Jack Kemp vein of conservatism, and in a World-Herald essay written after the May primary, Sasse said he drew inspiration from the former GOP congressman and vice presidential nominee who “believed the only way to fight big government was with bigger ideas.”

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