Answering Reagan's Challenge

Senator Mike Lee
2014-08-14 15:55:57
US Senator for Utah, Mike Lee [image = lee.enews.senate.gov//images/user_images/eCard-header-green-fields.jpg] * Answering Reagan's Challenge* Yesterday I had the opportunity of delivering a speech [link 1] at the Reagan Ranch to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.� Today, conservatives tend to think of that moment as the *beginning* of Reagan�s � and the country�s - triumphant era, which would eventually usher in the longest peacetime recovery in American history, victory in the Cold War abroad, and the restoration of the American Dream at home.� Twenty million new jobs. A forty-nine-state landslide. �Tear down this wall.� �Shining city on a hill.�� Cadence and courage. *That�s* the Reagan conservatives all remember and revere. But I submit that is *not* the only Reagan conservatives need to study and emulate most today. The obvious achievements following August 1981 provide a showcase of what we can learn from our 40th president.� But some of the most important lessons we can take are from Reagan�s hard and heroic work leading up to his electoral victory in 1980*.* The four-year stretch between 1976 and 1980 was a time similar to our own. The unemployment rate was coming down, but still too high. The economy was recovering, but not enough to restore broad prosperity. Energy dysfunction, rising prices and an unfair tax system were eating up what gains working families *did* see in their take-home pay. But it wasn�t just about statistics. Humiliating failures of leadership at home and abroad throughout the previous decade had taken their toll as well. A psychological pall was descending on the country, leaving Americans uncharacteristically anxious and pessimistic. When grinding stagflation steered us toward yet another recession, many Americans began to wonder if our best days had come and gone. It was in *that* time, in my view, that Reagan did perhaps the most important work of his career. Coincidentally, the similarities between the late 1970s and today seem to grow by the hour.� Now, as then, our economy is struggling. The great American middle class is beset with anxiety. Stagnant wages don�t keep up with the rising cost of living. For too many Americans, opportunities seem to be narrowing, and the American Dream seems to be slipping out of reach. Meanwhile, a chasm of distrust is opening between the American people and their government. Both parties are seen as incapable of producing innovative solutions to growing problems, or uninterested in even trying. Reagan�s �forgotten Americans� are once again being left behind. I believe this is the challenge of our time, and I addressed how we can meet this challenge in my speech. �I invite you to read the speech to learn more about the solutions I am proposing [link 2] to answer Reagan's challenge. I also invite you to come to one of the five upcoming town halls I am hosting during the last two weeks of August [link 3] to share your thoughts and feedback with me. � Reagan's agenda was designed to give ordinary Americans�*even more power*�to make decisions. He respected them and trusted them, and thought the government should simply get out of the way.� He knew the answer was not to get America to trust Washington; it was to get Washington to trust America. Today, some see it as ironic that as Reagan�*decentralized*�power to a diverse, divided nation...�*we*�*came back together*. But it�s not ironic at all. It�s the tried-and-true genius of the American way of life that has sustained our exceptional republic for more than two centuries. I look forward to a vibrant dialogue as we explore a new agenda of solutions to answer Reagan's challenge and once again remember America's forgotten families.
August 14, 2014

Answering Reagan's Challenge

Yesterday I had the opportunity of at the Reagan Ranch to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the signing of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. 

Today, conservatives tend to think of that moment as the beginning of Reagan�s � and the country�s - triumphant era, which would eventually usher in the longest peacetime recovery in American history, victory in the Cold War abroad, and the restoration of the American Dream at home. 

Twenty million new jobs. A forty-nine-state landslide. �Tear down this wall.� �Shining city on a hill.�  Cadence and courage.

That�s the Reagan conservatives all remember and revere. But I submit that is not the only Reagan conservatives need to study and emulate most today.

The obvious achievements following August 1981 provide a showcase of what we can learn from our 40th president.  But some of the most important lessons we can take are from Reagan�s hard and heroic work leading up to his electoral victory in 1980.

The four-year stretch between 1976 and 1980 was a time similar to our own. The unemployment rate was coming down, but still too high. The economy was recovering, but not enough to restore broad prosperity. Energy dysfunction, rising prices and an unfair tax system were eating up what gains working families did see in their take-home pay.

But it wasn�t just about statistics. Humiliating failures of leadership at home and abroad throughout the previous decade had taken their toll as well. A psychological pall was descending on the country, leaving Americans uncharacteristically anxious and pessimistic. When grinding stagflation steered us toward yet another recession, many Americans began to wonder if our best days had come and gone.

It was in that time, in my view, that Reagan did perhaps the most important work of his career.

Coincidentally, the similarities between the late 1970s and today seem to grow by the hour. 

Now, as then, our economy is struggling. The great American middle class is beset with anxiety. Stagnant wages don�t keep up with the rising cost of living. For too many Americans, opportunities seem to be narrowing, and the American Dream seems to be slipping out of reach.

Meanwhile, a chasm of distrust is opening between the American people and their government. Both parties are seen as incapable of producing innovative solutions to growing problems, or uninterested in even trying. Reagan�s �forgotten Americans� are once again being left behind.

I believe this is the challenge of our time, and I addressed how we can meet this challenge in my speech.  I invite you to to answer Reagan's challenge.

I also invite you to come to one of the to share your thoughts and feedback with me.  

Reagan's agenda was designed to give ordinary Americans even more power to make decisions. He respected them and trusted them, and thought the government should simply get out of the way.  He knew the answer was not to get America to trust Washington; it was to get Washington to trust America.

Today, some see it as ironic that as Reagan decentralized power to a diverse, divided nation... we came back together. But it�s not ironic at all. It�s the tried-and-true genius of the American way of life that has sustained our exceptional republic for more than two centuries.

I look forward to a vibrant dialogue as we explore a new agenda of solutions to answer Reagan's challenge and once again remember America's forgotten families.

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