Sen. Mike Lee’s family-friendly tax reform proposal, unveiled Tuesday, garners rave reviews from conservatives and libertarians who say it could help the GOP re-situate itself as the champion of the American middle class.
Politically, the Lee plan adds balance to a Republican policy agenda that has lots to say about entrepreneurs and debt-cutting, far less so about everyday problems of middle and low-income Americans. This was a gaping hole in the Romney campaign and message, one Republicans have struggled to fill since that election. So far, the Washington GOP has focused again on corporate tax reform and balanced budget amendments, as if 2012 never happened. The Lee plan also allows Republicans to modernize their message for the problems of 2013, not 1981 when top tax rates were 70% and tax brackets unindexed for out-of-control inflation. Just today, the Census Bureau said real median household income in 2012 was 8.3% lower than the 2007. A pro-growth, pro-family middle-class economic agenda is entirely appropriate.