Lee to Speak at Sutherland on Anti-Poverty Agenda

October 1, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – Senator Mike Lee will speak this evening at an event sponsored by The Sutherland Institute to discuss efforts to reform federal anti-poverty programs to increase economic security among the middle class and improve mobility for working-class families.


When:              Wednesday, October 1, 7:00 pm MT

Where:             La Jolla Groves

190 S 400 W

Salt Lake City


This event is open to the press. 

Please RSVP to Dave Buer, dbuer@sutherlandinstitute.org


The following are excerpts from tonight’s speech:


“Despite trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to eradicate poverty since the late 1960s, the poverty rate across the country has hardly budged. And nearly every strategy we have employed in this “war” – dealing with everything from health care to criminal justice – has failed to achieve genuine change in our most vulnerable communities.”

“Defenders of today’s status quo say that any critique of our welfare system is really just a thinly-veiled attempt to destroy the social safety net. But what we all should want – and what I certainly do want – is not to destroy the safety net, but to make it work.”

“Then, as now, people were not isolated because they were poor – they were poor mostly because they were isolated. And however unintended, too many government programs today only exacerbate that isolation. Networks of opportunity formed within the free market and civil society are not threats that poor families need more protection from. They are blessings that poor families need more access to.”

“Properly considered, then, the war on poverty is not so much about lifting people up. It’s about bringing people in. And so the challenge to us today is to rethink the war on poverty along these lines... to bring into our economy and society the individuals, families, and communities that have for five decades been unfairly locked out.”

“Whether it’s empowering lower-income Americans with better health care options, or giving parents the power to choose where they send their children to school, many of our solutions to poverty will follow a similar pattern: we need to replace our unresponsive systems centralized in the Washington bureaucracy with bottom-up solutions that empower the people closest to the problems to find solutions that work best for them. For this, Utah offers a great model for the rest of the country.”


Sen. Lee’s full remarks will be posted online tonight at http://www.lee.senate.gov/index.cfm/speeches.