A Billings legislator has called on the poor, disabled, unemployed and otherwise disadvantaged citizens to sacrifice for the salvation of their country.
In a letter to his low-income renters, South Side landlord and Rep. Dave Hagstrom urged them to accept that they don’t need to live as long or as comfortably as they currently do.
“A lot of us,” Hagstrom said, “have been living in a fairy tale world.”
The root or foundation of our problem is that as a nation we have been living beyond our means, he said. We have been spending money that is not real.
You have heard of national debt and the national deficit. It’s a problem that at some point in your life and mine will become harder. The public has demanded that the government provide services and the government has printed money to meet these demands, he went on.
Life will become harder because the money we have become accustomed to having is going to decrease. If it is hard for you to pay your bills now, it is going to be harder. Government assistance will shrink.
In his letter to tenants, Hagstrom ticks off five ways that those who aren’t Billy Gates (or Dave Hagstrom for that matter) can help Uncle Sam pry himself away from the mat and rise to his feet:
1. Accept that folks like you do not have to live as long or as comfortably as you do.
2. Accept that you are going to have to work harder than ever, maybe take a second or third job.
3. Assume the responsibility for your own health by getting more exercise, eating cheaper, cleaner, healthier food.
4. Rid yourself of friendships that are abusive and destructive.
5. Take into your life those family members who need help, even if you could pawn them off on government.
Hagstrom ignores the role unwarranted tax cuts play in increasing both the deficit and the national debt. Taxes at the rates when Dwight Eisenhower (whom almost no one called “socialist”) was in the White House would end the need to “print money.”
Few Americans today accept that the really rich should pay taxes disproportionate to their earnings - not just a percentage equal to that paid by the poor and middle class. The extra they pay is the cost of living in a country that multiplies opportunity. You can get rich in the U.S. of A. but it will cost you.
The federal government’s practice of printing money to pay for constituent services is a bad practice, he says. “It creates a mindset that government will meet all the people’s needs.”
If a couple have a premature baby, they believe the government should spend whatever it takes to keep it alive. If someone has cancer, the same government should pay the hospital bills. Hagstrom’s list goes on.
Hagstrom says printing money also affects the rich. Printing money tells them that they don’t have to help those in need. The government will do it.
If I choose to smoke, the government will pay for medical treatment if I develop cancer.
Taxes we pay do not cover government’s costs, Hagstrom says. “Not even close.”