Inequality – real inequality - is trapping poor children in failing schools to benefit bureaucrats and union bosses. It’s penalizing low-income parents for getting married, or getting better jobs.
It’s guaranteeing insurance companies taxpayer bailouts if Obamacare cuts into their profits.
Inequality is blocking thousands of middle-class jobs in the energy industry as a favor to partisan donors and radical environmental activists.
Inequality is denying viable, unborn children any protection under the law, while exempting unsanitary, late-term abortion clinics from basic safety standards.
It’s denying citizens their right to define marriage in their states as traditionally or as broadly as their diverse values dictate.
It’s the federal government hurting rural communities, especially in the west, by controlling and mismanaging public lands.
It’s changing laws without congressional approval, and spying on American citizens without constitutional authority.
And of course, Obamacare – all by itself – is an inequality Godzilla that has robbed working families of their insurance, their doctors, their wages and their jobs. Many Americans are now seeing why some of us fought so hard to stop this train-wreck over the last four years.
Government-driven inequality is the reason why, as hard-working families across the country struggle to make ends meet, six of the ten wealthiest counties in America are now suburbs of Washington, D.C.
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.
And tonight his party cheered as he asked for more of the same, as if the solution to inequality were ... well ... more inequality.
Critics might push back and argue that my own party has been part of the problem, too often joining the Democrats to rig our economy to benefit the well-connected at the expense of the disconnected.
I know, because I’m one of those critics.
But I’m speaking to you tonight because I think maybe - just maybe - that’s finally starting to change.
As a nation we are, once again, at a critical turning point.
Now, as in 1773, Americans have had it with our out-of-touch national government. But if all we do is protest, our Boston Tea Party moment will occupy little more than a footnote in our history.
Hopefully our leaders, reformers and citizens will join the journey from Boston to Philadelphia – from protest to progress. Together we can march forward and take the road that leads to the kind of government we do want.
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.
Conservative reformers like Senator Marco Rubio, Congressman Paul Ryan and Congressman Jim Jordan are working on new welfare-reform ideas to help underprivileged families escape poverty.
Senator Rand Paul and I are working with some of the most liberal Democrats in Congress to reform the federal criminal-justice system – to help keep violent predators behind bars while creating opportunities for reformed, non-violent offenders to return to the families and neighborhoods that so desperately need them.
Senator John Cornyn has legislation that would empower states to improve K-12 education across the country. Senator Tim Scott has reforms to improve our job-training programs. And I’ve introduced a bill to modernize higher education, making it more accessible and affordable for lower-income and non-traditional students.
Congressman Tom Graves has a transportation-reform bill to ensure our infrastructure dollars are invested in roads and bridges, and not wasted on bureaucrats and special interests.
Congressman Mike Pompeo introduced a bill to end all federal subsidies for the energy industry. And others are working on proposals to do the same for every industry – so that business profits are won from customers, not through political connections. After all, if we’re going to reform welfare, we really should start with corporate welfare.