I just finished reading Senator MIke Lee's latest article, Bring Them In, a piece that seems to articulate what he believes the conservatives in America should be doing. All this talk about voluntary civil society is fine and good. But the fact of the matter is that the fantastically wealthy in this country *already* have the freedom he speaks of. The rest of us don't. If those same wealthy people wanted to change things, they would have done so long, long ago, but they have not.
If Mike really believes what he says, then he can act on it by working to returning us to the tax rates of the age of Eisenhower, adjusted for inflation. He can see to it that the biggest corporations who report record profits to keep their stock values pumped will also pay taxes on those profits rather than paying zero taxes as they often do. This will help to relieve the incredible concentration of wealth we see today, a common feature of banana republics. If he really believes what he is saying, then money is not "speech" and he will act on it by proposing legislation to recognize that money is not speech and enforcing that policy in campaign finance laws.
If Mike wants credibility with voters like me, then he is going to need to address "Lesterland", the place that the United States has become, where 0.5% of the population have enough money to command more than 60% of the political campaign contributions across this great land. That 0.5% gets to decide who runs and who wins. Not us. Not even by a long-shot. Income inequality affects our civic life by affording the super wealthy an opportunity to deceive us by providing the appearance of a fair horse race when the reality is, they've limited the choices available for our votes.
Until the walled garden of politics set up by the super wealthy is removed, the problems faced by this country are not caused by "us", they are caused by the people who run it. I'm not talking about the people in government, I'm talking about the billionaires who seek to divert government resources for their own gain as if they don't have enough of whatever they have. These are the same benefactors of Mike Lee's campaigns, the people who run The Conservative Nanny State.
Worse, to see Mike Lee grandstanding with Ted Cruz to defund Obamacare, and subsequently shut down government completely removes any credibility Lee had with me. Mike Lee offered no alternatives to Obamacare, he only wanted to repeal it, as a show of political force rather than a helpful solution.
No, I don't believe Mike's intentions are sincere, considering that he was elected by the leaders of Lesterland. When he thumps a Bible on a government website, I see this great nation becoming more like Iran. A nation run by the church, for the church, to the exclusion of people of other faiths, and those who choose none. Has Mike Lee forgotten that the Founding Fathers saw their practice of religion as a private matter and agreed not to mix religion with politics?
When I see Mike Lee address "Lesterland" and the problems it represents with meaningful and effective legislation, and raise the issue the same way he opposed Obamacare, that is a great start for him to show that he represents me rather than opposes me.