Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, a candidate for the new 4th Congressional District, continues to show her usual display of hubris and hypocrisy. Be it defunding federal student aid—that she relied on—or limiting alternative pathways to citizenship—that her parents relied on—Love consistently favors repealing policies that she has previously benefited from. Now that she has her own bootstraps, her guiding mantra says politicians should cater to their property tax paying voters before considering the needs of their less fortunate constituents.
This is nowhere more true than her response to flooding in Saratoga Springs in early September.
In June, a fire raged in the hills above Love’s small Utah town of 18,000 when a stray bullet ignited dry grass. Last month a storm unleashed large amounts of rain, setting free mudslides that ran into Saratoga Springs causing widespread property damage to over two dozen homes.
The news coverage of these events was telling. There was no one on the street corner yelling about personal responsibility and private sector action and solutions. No one asked why the private sector didn’t douse the fire or stop the mudslides. No one asked the government not to clean up the mudslides and to get off their private property.
What was reported is whether the leadership of this small town did enough. There were questions about its post-fire planning for the possible mudslides. There were calls for the city to do more to clean up the debris left behind by the mudslides. And there were calls for more governmental help in cleaning up private property because, wait for it, private insurance won’t cover all of the flood related damage – a telling fracture in the perceived perfection of the regulation-free, private sector economy that Love unequivocally supports.
Love has been more than willing to defend those who can already afford to defend themselves, but what has she done for the defenseless? Very little.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates some 600 Saratoga Springs inhabitants live below the poverty line—300 of which are children. Now of course, these kids can’t vote and their parents, who might be able to vote, can’t spare the money to contribute to political campaigns, which means they are outside of Love’s attention span. But their hunger, much like the mud in the basements of the homes of those two dozen property owners is very real.
So why do Mayor Love and her supporters believe that it is the government’s role to stop the fire, mitigate the mudslide and then clean it up, but school lunch and food stamps are beyond the proper role of government and apparently derail any sense of personal responsibility? What makes the interests of dozens more important than the needs of hundreds? It’s clear that in Mayor Love’s worldview, government isn’t really all that bad when it’s there to serve the interests of those who can afford it.