20100403 Mike Lee US Senate candidate

This was a good chance to listen to Mike present some of his ideas and then open up to questions. There were around 50 people at this event held at Ivory Ridge in Lehi.
4/3/2010 7:21:19 AM Introductions Mike Lee Congress can regulate anything because it “affects interstate commerce.” This is from 1942 forward based on a Supreme Court ruling. There have only been 2 instances when the Supreme Court has said, “No you can’t regulate this.” Why am I concerned about this as a Senator? I think you can see what happens when a Federal government thinks it is all powerful. This is a type that the Congress has never exercised. They say you have to buy a product and if you don’t you will be fined or have prison time, if you choose not to buy it. This represents how far we have drifted from the Founding fathers limit of powers. Have we reached the point of tyranny? I think we have since long before the Obama care. Right now we have people working 3-4 months / year working for the government since they pay a certain percent. And we are told that we don’t pay them enough because they have overspent what we have been able to pay them. Our children have nothing to see for what they now owe the government. 50,000/person is the debt load now. We don’t even have a car for that. 40% of all wage earners pay 97% of the bill. If you have a steady job you are one of the rich people. I married and have 3 children and my total debt to the government is maybe over 500,000. You can search the entire Constitution and you will not see Social Security. They also don’t have the right to bail out banks or auto companies. And it does not have power to regulate health care. The answer lies in Article 6 of the Constitution. Any senator who takes his oath seriously needs to read the Constitution. You can read it in about 2 minutes. There are a couple of words like “naturalization” that have changed, but the rest of the words are what we use today. My point is that members of congress need to exercise self-restraint and comply with the Constitution.
Pledge 1: I will never vote for a single piece of legislation that I cannot justify as a proper use of power based on the founding generation. We need to stop the spending. For some reason we allow Congress to do this without permission. And I will do it by working for a balanced budget amendment. If it is constrained to what it has and a certain percent of GDP. We want this to change. The government should never incur more debt than it can pay back in one generation. We have to take up drastic reform of existing programs. There is no entitlement program that is sustainable over time and they do not have permission to exist based on the Constitution. We have to phase them out over time. SS and Medicare/Medicaid we have to hold those who are retired harmless for now. Connect benefits to inflation and not cost of living. We will also need to raise the retirement age by 1-2 years each year. Do some means testing for high net worth individuals. Those who are born after 1970 need to be told they are not going to get anything. We have to reform the tax system because it perpetuates this. We are redistributing and we need a tax system that does not encourage this. Perhaps the national sales tax.
4/3/2010 7:58:40 AM Question But you are one guy and the elder statesmen are going to buddy up with the new guys. How are you going to bring the group forward?
4/3/2010 7:59:20 AM Answer Mike Lee This will be one of the hardest things that Americans have ever done. I believe it will be done because it is the only way we can survive. I know of exactly 2 who stand for this Demint and Coburn. I have met some of those who will go back. Orubio and others will start to join. John Kyl from AZ but has probably been afraid. Crapo could join in this. In 2012 there will be more I believe.
4/3/2010 8:01:08 AM Question The media will want to label you as a gang, so how are you going to win against them?
4/3/2010 8:01:28 AM Answer We believe that the media is not having the effect anymore. The people are done with this. They are going Right. I have people who have been liberal who are coming right.
4/3/2010 8:03:22 AM Answer Mike Lee I will point out that there is nothing that the left has offered that does not involve more cost. The media can’t convince us that it is right. We have a variety of other channels. We are going to restore the debate and reform the taxes. We are also going to move for term limits. The Constitution has fostered the development of a great country. Please join me in my cause. I am here to ask for your vote.
4/3/2010 8:05:03 AM Question Why you and not Bridgewater?
4/3/2010 8:05:12 AM Answer Mike Lee First of all you will not hear me mention criticism. Tim is a patriot and friend. I have to offer a lifetime of studying the Constitution. We need someone who can pin point the exact phrase. What about “Wicker v Filbur”? I can answer why the solution was wrong and how we have move to our toleration limits. I have a problem with a number of the decisions that have happened. We can get states and local governments that can protect from some of the decisions that have happened.
4/3/2010 8:07:36 AM Question You brought up tax reform and states rights. How would you repeal the 16th and 17th amendments.
4/3/2010 8:07:53 AM Answer Mike Lee 1913 and 1914 were bad years. Wilson moved things in a bad direction. 16 allows unlimited tax power expansion. Senator Bora from ID mentioned back then that this would be bad since our income tax could get over 10%. It was considered an insult at the time. Once the people start to understand then we might be able to move. Let’s get the balanced budget amendment, then people will start to move to a better understanding. This should then move us closer to a political will to repeal 16th amendment. I think it is dangerous to have both so we have to limit budgets first. Another option is to have each state pay its share and then they could collect as they choose. This is another alternative. We need to develop the will to do it. 17th amendment is hard to do. I would support sponsors. I would not want to be considered fringe as the first action. Utah is the only state that did not ratify the 17th and so it is powerful. I think we need to move slowly on that one.
4/3/2010 8:13:09 AM Question It is hard to make massive reform happen when you are trying to avoid being labeled. In order for the federal government to lose weight, having swung to the left, my fear is that the pendulum will swing back after we get this movement in the immediate future.
4/3/2010 8:15:09 AM Answer Mike Lee In 1994 we had a revolution. It was a good start but it was incomplete since it wasn’t rooted in anything permanent. I respect them, but the contract amounted to lowering taxes, term limits and some other changes. We did not explain why. I hope that we can push for the lasting change based on Constitution and American philosophies. I believe it is optimistic and we have to restore the principles. Progressivism has had a long run. We have been on this for 100 years now. I believe that there will be more ground swell against it. This will be more than just partisan.
4/3/2010 8:17:25 AM Question Really simply you listed 7-9 people. Could you get 2 Democrats on the list?
4/3/2010 8:17:46 AM Answer Mike Lee I believe we can get it from the other side.
4/3/2010 8:18:11 AM Question Political will does not exist and Congress is not on the same lifestyle that the rest of us are. They serve a term or two and are on full salary.
4/3/2010 8:19:07 AM Answer Mike Lee There are a couple of myths. They have the same retirement plan as other federal employees.
4/3/2010 8:19:56 AM Question Term limits? Would you self-impose?
4/3/2010 8:20:10 AM Answer Mike Lee 2 for senators and 6 for house. I would not self-impose. I would want the amendment to be in place. The problem is that the incumbents tell you how much pain you will feel if you don’t vote for them. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett did not run on a Constitutional approach.
4/3/2010 8:22:46 AM Question About a month ago I watched the committee on finance and they mentioned that there is no more money and no one to give us it.
4/3/2010 8:24:03 AM Answer Mike Lee I respect Senator Bennett but I think his time has come. His argument on the balanced budget amendment is that the Democrats will raise taxes. But that is a good feedback and they would not be in office for very long. Term limits will make changes happen more frequently and people will have to explain themselves on a regular basis.
4/3/2010 8:26:49 AM Question What are your views on foreign policy, entanglements and trade?
4/3/2010 8:27:05 AM Answer Mike Lee Thomas Jefferson was concerned about entangling alliances. WWI was based on alliances and that led to WWII. We need to focus on our own national security. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Free trade vs fair trade. I believe we can move to free trade. If we can move tariffs to zero that would be great. We need to move it back to Congress. I like the idea behind NAFTA and GAT but they created international tribunals. I would like to bring that back to Congress. They would then need to move to lowering. If the Chinese can produce goods that are high quality and cheaper, then sure. The more we respond just through tariffs, the more we avoid the real issues.
4/3/2010 8:29:51 AM Question One of the congressmen said that they don’t care about the constitution and would just leave it to the Court.
4/3/2010 8:30:29 AM Answer Mike Lee I would air the position statements that they have made. I would remind the congressmen of the oath that they have taken. If they don’t care then there needs to be more shame. On the fair trade question I would point out that the agreements are about bidding wars.
4/3/2010 8:32:08 AM Question Isn’t free trade about liberty?
4/3/2010 8:32:18 AM Answer Mike Lee Less government is better. The idea for changing these things is not done best through a Convention. When you ask about a Constitutional Convention you are right that it could become runaway. One of the best ways to avoid this is to act within Congress now.
4/3/2010 8:34:43 AM Question What about federal worker retirement plans and entitlement programs? I lost my retirement from the private sector.
4/3/2010 8:35:38 AM Answer Mike Lee The retirement programs are not entitlements but unwise planning. I believe that we should reduce the headcount in total. That will help us to reduce the expense.
4/3/2010 8:37:33 AM Question Federal / state employees can “union.” They then ask for a raise and taxes rise.
4/3/2010 8:37:55 AM Answer Mike Lee This is why we wanted to limit the powers of Congress, so they could not increase the headcounts, programs and therefore cost.
4/3/2010 8:38:27 AM Question We are losing the ability to produce food from agriculture because of regulation and the ethanol movement through subsidies.
4/3/2010 8:38:58 AM Answer Mike Lee I did some research on ethanol and found that it is very inefficient. If the government got out of the business of regulating, then they would be out of subsidizing everything. I think the federal government should not be the guarantor of food stuffs. The transportation costs will always encourage local food production in a free market. “Wicker vs Filburn” 1942 decision is part of what brought this apocalypse. The federal government came to the door of Filburn because he grew too much wheat. Congress had decided how much wheat was too be grown. Filburn fought against the quota and didn’t want to lose his right. He did not sell and commerce his excess wheat but they stated that he was ruining the commerce of the country. This is Exhibit A of where we went off course.
4/3/2010 8:44:12 AM Question EPA and FDA?
4/3/2010 8:44:19 AM Answer Mike Lee They are examples of agencies that have some basis but have exceeded their powers. So they can regulate things that transit and it is hard to deal with from one state to another with pollution, so EPA can exist and FDA deals with food.
4/3/2010 8:45:29 AM Question How do we bring these decisions forward again?
4/3/2010 8:46:28 AM Answer Mike Lee I was a law clerk with Justice Alito and the court has a hard time deciding they were wrong. We have to start this with Congress. They can exercise restraint if they choose. This is the only way we can do this.
4/3/2010 8:47:51 AM Question Space program thoughts?
4/3/2010 8:48:00 AM Answer Mike Lee Our program is aligned with national defense and is something Congress should be doing. We have been distracted from this because of Health care and other issues. We need to return to our basic principles and we wouldn’t lose the initiative. Obama wants to move to its friends in other states for liquid fuel. If we save ATK through earmarks, then we lost. We should send the money through NASA.
4/3/2010 8:50:37 AM Question Earmarking question?
4/3/2010 8:50:43 AM Answer Mike Lee This is widely abused and causes a problem with appearance and outright corruption. Those who defend earmarks are saying that only a tiny percent are earmarks. The Obama stimulus package got passed because of “sweeteners” that were sent to each state. Obama care got passed because of the deals for the different states. We should reform the process. I support Jim Demints program that we have one year break from them, then debate each of them on the floor. My default vote is “NO.” You must make sure that I have time to read and review the bill.
4/3/2010 8:53:54 AM Question Afghanistan and Iraq?
4/3/2010 8:54:26 AM Answer Mike Lee I found out my stand according to Bob Bennet. I disagree with his statement. Every time we send our brave men and women out we need to be able to defend it according to the Constitution. They were there to take out targets that clearly are a threat. We are not there to deliver meals on wheels or deliver people from oppression. That is not what our armed forces are there for. They are there for taking out targets.
4/3/2010 8:56:42 AM Question Do you think we are done there?
4/3/2010 8:56:55 AM Answer Mike Lee I follow Congressman Chafetz and I agree with his general statement. He appears to say that we are not there to deliver flowers.
4/3/2010 8:57:36 AM Question Iran, North Korea and other bases.
4/3/2010 8:57:44 AM Answer Mike Lee I won’t say that we have to shut them all down. I believe we have too many.
4/3/2010 8:58:17 AM Question Reconcile your view with the Korean position.
4/3/2010 8:58:32 AM Answer Mike Lee I need to get more familiar with specifics. I believe that we have way too many. In South Korea we might want to keep some presence.
4/3/2010 8:59:21 AM Question Who would you support as a Presidential candidate?
4/3/2010 8:59:36 AM Answer Mike Lee I still really like Mitt since I think he has some opportunity. I do question his votes at time. He is a lot better than Tim Polenty. Mike Huckabee appears to be a traitor. I don’t think Sarah Palin can do it. She made her debut speech and I loved it, but I have not seen that she can carry it over time. She is a great lady. I would actually like Jim DeMint.
4/3/2010 9:01:38 AM Close Thank you for coming (about 45-50 people)

After others had left a couple of the questions were:

Q? Originally we paid our debt off through tariffs. If we move to free trade we lose that form of income?

Answer. I believe that we need to send the power back to Congress directly. If we remove all the earmarking and other concerns from them, they will have time to do what the Constitution established as their responsibility.

Q? What do you think about the Federal Reserve?

Answer: I do not agree with how it has evolved. It has the power of a corporation with the limited risk of being a government entity. It is like giving full legislative and executive power to one branch of the government. We will need to perform a complete audit and publish the behavior of the Federal Reserve. This will help us move forward in controlling their power.

Q? How will you control the cost of governments and entitlements without causing the economy to collapse?

Answer: I mentioned that we should move slowly on Social Security. We phase in the change so that you eventually give notice to those born after 1970 that they will not have any entitlement. Then we need to reduce slowly the Departments of Energy, Agriculture and Education. They are too large and cost too much.

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