Mike Lee in tea party State of the Union response: Inequality is caused by government

Patrick Howley Political Reporter
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Utah Sen. Mike Lee’s tea party response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech will focus on the issue of economic inequality.

Lee will blame big government for the disenfranchisement of the American middle class and lay out economic priorities that he says will turn “protest” into “reform.”

Economic inequality is a major theme of the Democratic Party’s talking points, and will factor heavily into Obama’s Tuesday night address. So far, establishment Republicans have largely shied away from confronting the issue head on.

Lee plans to identify a culprit for the rapid decline in working-class incomes — and that culprit does not fall far from the White House.

“Today, Americans know in their hearts that something is wrong.  Much of what is wrong relates to the sense that the ‘American Dream’ is falling out of reach for far too many of us. We are facing an inequality crisis — one to which the President has paid lip-service, but seems uninterested in truly confronting or correcting,” Lee stated in excerpted remarks released by his office ahead of his Tuesday night speech.

“But where does this new inequality come from? From government — every time it takes rights and opportunities away from the American people and gives them instead to politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests,” Lee stated.

“Throughout the last five years, President Obama has promised an economy for the middle class; but all he’s delivered is an economy for the middle-men,” Lee stated.

Lee’s tea party response, which is separate from the Republican party response to be delivered by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is being livestreamed on Lee’s Senate website following Obama’s address.

Lee also has kind words for the friendly senator with whom he is most closely associated: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

“We have a new generation of leaders in Washington with positive, innovative ideas – thoughtful policy reforms to, as my friend Senator Ted Cruz says –“Make D.C. listen.”  Reforms to help poor families work their way into the middle class, to help middle-class families start to get ahead, and to level the playing field and put corporate and political insiders back to work for the rest of us,” Lee stated.

In keeping with the tea party vision that Lee has fought hard to promote, the Utah senator’s speech will focus attention back on the work of the Founding Fathers.

“In America, the test of any political movement is not what that movement is against, but what it is for. The founders made a point at Boston Harbor, but they made history in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall,” Lee stated. “Our goal should be an America where everyone has a fair chance to pursue happiness — and find it. That’s what it looks like when protest grows into reform.”

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