Feb 3, 2016

Water Contamination Crisis in Flint:Republicans' Fiscal Problem

For almost two years, residents have suffered through a water contamination problem, an impossible situation. I heard about the lead poisoned water problems in Flint initially on Rachel Maddow’s nightly show, but heard nothing on the mainstream media. (I guess they were to busy covering the minute to minute antics of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump). Now, while poisonous water is still piping into homes in Flint, state officials minimize their culpability and attempt to pass blame to the Federal government. At the same time, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says he needs $767 million dollars to repair and replace Flint’s water infrastructure which was destroyed in his attempt to save $5 million dollars..

Therein lies the rub for Republican legislators at every level of government. Republicans control the Michigan legislature and the GOP also controls both the House and Senate at the national level. Republicans disparage the federal government every chance they get. The portray the federal government as intrusive, too involved, and determined to fiscally irresponsible. It hard to imagine a Republican Congress approving Gov. Snyder’s request for any parts of  $767 million.

The racial politics are reminiscent of the failure of the federal government to respond in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I can still hear Kanye West saying “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people". In 2013, an increasingly debt conscious Congress and the GOP’s non-diverse base were reluctant to provide necessary assistance to victims of Hurricane Sandy. With a Democratic controlled Senate, the funding was passed with only 9 Republicans voting for it. I wonder what will be said about the government’s response to Flint’s crisis.

It’s interesting to note that Governor Snyder also requests expansion of Medicaid for the youngsters impacted by the poisoning lead in the water they’ve been drinking. Yet Michigan refused to expand Medicaid for it’s eligible citizens.

At least 6 civil lawsuits have been filed seeking compensatory and punitive damages for 30,000 customers who paid for or was billed for Flint’s water. The FBI is investigating the contamination of Flint’s water and Congress has called a hearing and “requested” the Governor to testify. As public awareness increases, the outcry for action continues to swell.

It's interesting that the presidential candidates haven't weighed in on the current crisis in Flint, Michigan. I guess this poor, hard-working city doesn't warrant their attention.



Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More