Opinions / Op-eds

Idaho Lawmaker Berates ‘Loser Snowflakes’ for Suffering from the Problems He Helped Create

Perhaps it’s time the “loser snowflakes” of the world started recognizing the real source of their problems.

Stephen Hartgen is a Republican Idaho State Representative from Twin Falls. This means he spends 3-4 months every year in session in Boise, Idaho, voting on laws and budgets.

He also serves as the Chairman of the Commerce & Human Resources Committee which deals with, among other things, wages, unions, and retirement laws in the state of Idaho. He serves on the Environment, Energy & Technology and the Revenue & Taxation Committees as well.

Now in his fifth 2-year term, Hartgen is not shy about sharing his opinions. At 1:00 AM on August 3, 2017, he took to Facebook to share a Wall Street Journal article entitled Struggling Americans Once Sought Greener Pastures—Now They’re Stuck along with the following personal insight:

To hear the people in this article tell it, the promise of America has left them behind, stuck in small dreary towns, with neither hope nor promise. Nonsense. They all lack one simple ingredient to improve their lots in life: the gumption, will, size-of-the-fight-in-the dog, determination to get off their bums and make change happen. It’s much easier to complain how life has passed them by, Yada, yada, yada. Ain’t I got it tough. The truth is these folks simply lack the will to make something of themselves. It’s not the place. It’s the guts. Excuses pile up. I can’t leave here. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…..Maybe they should spend an hour or two with Twin Falls refugees from Bosnia, Armenia or Africa and hear a tale or two of how tough life can really be somewhere else, Then they can go back to being the loser snowflakes they are…Hire ’em? Who would do that with attitudes like this? There are malingerers in every corner of America, people who won’t lift a finger to help themselves….Here are some…..

Isn’t that lovely? A sitting state representative reads an article which explains that “the country is the least mobile since after World War II, even in economically depressed rural locales” and his reaction is to castigate these trapped individuals as “loser snowflakes.”

Perhaps another perspective is needed here. Let’s talk about just a handful of the myriad ways in which the state legislature in Idaho—which includes Hartgen, don’t forget—has greatly contributed to the problems which have left so many people stuck.

They keep raising taxes. Oh sure, they like to pretend it doesn’t count because it’s just the fuel tax and registration fees, or sales tax on Amazon or the cost of a hunting permit, but it’s all still money coming out of our pockets.

They keep increasing the price of a college degree even as its market value is decreasing. They could actually tell the state’s colleges and universities no when they make their regular pitch for why they need to charge people more for something that is worth less. But do they? Almost never.

They keep taking more and more jobs that were once open to anyone with talent—like massage therapist or sign language interpreter—and locking them away behind expensive licenses, unnecessary education mandates, and irrelevant background checks.

They have criminalized hundreds of victimless actions from growing a plant to having a beer when you are in college to teenagers sending each other nude pics. Thousands of Idahoans who never hurt anyone are now burdened with a criminal record that makes it even more difficult to get a job and stay ahead of poverty.

They have allowed healthcare costs to skyrocket. From the bungled creation of the state insurance exchange to the fact that hospitals aren’t required to post transparent pricing to the cozy relationships maintained between many state lawmakers and the insurance industry lobbyists (just look at their campaign contributions), Idaho’s State Legislature is more than a little complicit in Idaho’s healthcare woes.

It’s quite apparent that Hartgen believes none of the things which he and his colleagues have done over the years are in any way responsible for the massive debt, overpriced degrees, shrinking workforce, overflowing prisons, declining home ownership, skyrocketing insurance premiums, or any of the other problems we face.

Nope, it’s entirely our fault, right?

I don’t buy it. Millions of Americans are stuck not because they lack drive or ambition, but because government has lied to them, robbed them, and betrayed them at every turn. Until lawmakers start slashing taxes, repealing occupational licensing, reversing decades of over-criminalization, fixing the education bubble they created, and returning healthcare back to the market so that supply and demand can stabilize; those lawmakers have absolutely no business criticizing the very people they have victimized.

We didn’t create these problems. They did.

Gem State Patriot News