January 27, 2016 by Chris Kite
When Ronald Reagan was elected President, it fired up a new movement in the US that was decidedly against government intervention. While government certainly isn’t the solution to all problems, it is also true that government can be a good solution for many problems.
But the Republican party works hard to make government fail to serve the people, and thus create a self fulfilling prophecy. Government is incompetent and can’t solve problems. Anything it touches it screws up. The EPA is evil and doesn’t protect the people while killing the ability of businesses to make money. We hear it in campaign rhetoric, speeches by elected Republicans, and from the right wing propaganda machines like Fox “News” and Breitbart.
We see constant evidence of Republican’s lack of compassion for regular citizens (they are much more compassionate about the rich and corporations) and failure to serve the public. We saw it in New Orleans with the lack of adequate response by FEMA and the federal government under George W. Bush.
We saw it with the Bush administration ignoring all the warning signs about 9/11.
We saw it with the 2008 financial crisis that had brutal impact on not just Americans, but citizens around the world as the financial crisis spread.
And now we are really seeing it in Michigan, where Governor Rick Snyder appointed a financial manager to “manage” the town of Flint, Michigan, which was in financial crisis. Flint is best described as a town that has been “down on its luck for decades.” Long in decline, suffering from continual exodus of citizens and business, the ever shrinking auto industry and its impact on lost jobs and lower wages, and a lack of new business. Flint is one big a tale of sadness.
The city used to get its water from Detroit, which has historically been very expensive. The city voted to switch to their water supply to the Karegnondi Water Authority, a new system using Lake Huron water that planned to be ready by 2016.
Rick Snyder appointed city managers decided to save money now by switching more quickly from Detroit’s historically expensive water service to using the Flint river as a source. A Flint official forwarded an analysis of the new water supply to Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The report showed that the water was corrosive and would need to be treated with phosphate to avoid corroding pipes. The water, in fact, was so corrosive the GM decided to stop using it to avoid corroding engine blocks.
But the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality didn’t do it’s job and implement the treatment. The result was water tainted by lead and the subsequent lead exposure to thousands of Flint residents. And now, many Republicans are pointing to this as an example of government not being able to do anything right.
It’s a great strategy. Tell citizens you can’t trust government because it is incompetent. Do a lousy job of running government. Offer it as proof that we need smaller government.
Why aren’t more Americans wise to this horrid example of screwing the people to justify privatizing traditional government operations?
Let’s hope congress does its job in upcoming hearings and holds Governor Snyder’s feet to the fire. But the fact that congress is run by “small government Republicans,” doesn’t leave me with much hope.