A state representative and landlord from Billings appears to have sent a letter to his tenants that, among other things, advocates for a level of household austerity that many would find to be almost ghoulish.
“First, you accept that not everyone, including yourself, needs to live as long as they currently do, or as ‘comfortably’ as they currently do,” reads the letter that appears to be from Rep. Dave Hagstrom (R-Billings).
Another part argues that the government printing money is problematic and that doing so leads to the following:
“…it creates in the mindset of the people a dependency on the government to meet all their needs. It creates a mindset that, if I have a premature baby, the government should spend whatever it takes to keep it alive….It creates a mindset that if I have kids and their dads are dead-beats, the government should buy my groceries and help me get a job while they provide day-care for my kids and send me to school to educate me so I can get a better job….It creates the mindset that since I only know how to cook Hot n’ Ready for supper, the government should give my kids a nutritious breakfast and lunch at school and feed them throughout the summer in South Park.”
The letter started making the rounds on social media before noon on Friday. I called Hagstrom and asked if he had, in fact, sent this letter. He hadn’t yet heard the letter was floating around. I told him I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t a hoax or something. He didn’t seem to be exactly sure what I meant. But when I read an excerpt to him, he said, “Oh, you mean one of my tenant letters?”
When asked if that meant he had, in fact, sent the letter, he said he was in a meeting and couldn’t talk right then. I asked again if he had written a similar letter.
“I write letters to my tenants, but I’m not sure if I wrote that one,” he added, and asked that I call back the next day when he wasn’t as busy.
Hagstrom sits on the House Appropriations Committee and the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
Stay tuned as the story develops.