Free Markets, Free People

Free water for Flint is bad, because … no government regulation?

You can’t make this stuff up and it again points out something that I’ve wondered about for some time …. do these publications actually have editors?

Again, it’s the Atlantic.  The writer is David Graham.  His problem?  Well, you see, various corporations are providing the citizens of Flint, MI … you know, the town where the government managed to make the drinking water undrinkable … free water.

Bad, says Graham, very bad … in the long run:

That these firms are stepping up to deliver water is good news for Flint’s schools and citizens in the immediate term. But a one-time infusion of gallons of fresh water doesn’t do much to address the systemic failures of government that led to the water crisis in the first place. By making four for-profit corporations into a de facto public utility, the gift might actually risk making things worse in the long run.

Ye gods.  I must be missing something Mr. Graham.  Why is this bad again?

Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestlé, and Pepsi aren’t just charitable organizations that might have their own ideologies. They’re for-profit companies. And by providing water to the public schools for the remainder of the year, the four companies have effectively supplanted the local water authorities and made themselves an indispensable public utility, but without any amount of public regulation or local accountability. Many people in Flint may want government to work better, but with sufficient donations, they may find that the private sector has supplanted many of government’s functions altogether.

So, wait, they fill in where government has utterly failed and you’re worried that the citizens may say, “wow, these guys are better than government” or something?  Well, if they’re providing water to schools for the remainder of the year they already are, aren’t they?  So, again, what’s the problem sir?

Oh, I bet I know … privatization.  Don’t want any privatization now, do we?  Lord help us if the citizens of Flint should find out that nasty “for profit corporations” might be able to deliver a basic commodity like water better than government, huh?  And especially if they can do it cheaper as well!

Let’s remind Mr. Graham of something he wrote prefacing the whole “OMG, for profit corporations might be seen in a positive light” nonsense:

The Flint water crisis is above all a human tragedy: The effects of lead exposure on development can be lifelong and irreversible. But it is also a fundamental failure of government. At all levels, government failed to protect citizens.

Not only did it fail to protect its citizens, it failed spectacularly in the delivery of a very basic “every-city-does-it” sort of duty – potable water.  Government has always claimed that only it can reliably deliver such a commodity safely.

Yeah, well Flint disagrees.  And it should be clear to Mr. Graham that despite “public regulation” and “local accountability”, that government failure occurred.

Now what, sir?!  Any bets on who will be held accountable?  In government, I mean.

Yeah, me neither.


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12 Responses to Free water for Flint is bad, because … no government regulation?

  • Right, because it’s better to have the unaccountable and democratic (run forever by Democrats) system remain in place than allow for “the undemocratic and largely unaccountable nature of philanthropy” to take over till the idiots in government get their heads out of areas where the sun doesn’t shine.

    But instead the writer prefers that the government, at both the local level, and the Federal level, be allowed to continue to poison the citizens of Flint in a ‘democratic’ fashion.
    Instead he would prefer the unaccountable nature of government be allowed to rule in their unaccountable way. Not a soul fired so far, investigations! resignation…pfffffftttt!

    The EPA knew about the problem, and effectively allowed it to escalate by letting the State and local government continue to pump the corrosive water through the system no doubt making a bad situation worse while they wrangled about who was responsible, who was in charge, and probably most importantly, how they could all dodge blame, ” Gentlemen! We have to protect our phoney baloney jobs!!!!”

    So unaccountable government screws the pooch, but good Lord, we can’t let ‘unaccountable’ private philanthropy in to provide aid, people might get the wrong fricking idea about how much they need government, and why.

    • The water is not ‘corrosive’, it is perfectly fine to drink from the source. Its pH is mildly off from what is safe for the lead in the pipes. In fact the lead was previously sealed under calcium build up, the water eroded that layer an attacks the lead. The solution is an additive that the water department forgot to add. Adding it is also an EPA requirement. For it to fully work, you have to let the calcium skin over the pipe again which is going to take time and there’s no other way except replacing the pipes. which is effectively going to shutdown the water altogether.

      Democrats want to blame the choice of the water source. In fact that water source was used before the switch to Detroit water. It was treated and/or mixed with a second source that balanced the pH out. But blaming the source they can then blame the ‘Emergency Manager’ which is a State Government creation to soft walk cities through a psuedo-bankruptcy in place of a real bankruptcy. To save money the EM wanted to switch away from the ridiculously overpriced Detroit water. So they had plans to develop another source with another city which wouldn’t come online for 2 years. Their contract with Detroit came up and they would only give them a 20 year contract (not 2). So basically Detroit forced them into returning to the old water source as a stop-gap. The Fear for Detroit is a competing water source to the suburbs could kill a cash cow and they used their monopoly to preserve their monopoly..

      The other problem is these cities feel they shouldn’t have to go through bankruptcy, we should just give them money. So even though the Emergency Manager law creates a much softer landing than turning the problem over to a bankruptcy judge, they spurn the opportunity. The fact it puts the city under the control of a White RINO doesn’t help. Also the first couple of EM’s in other cities turned up a bunch of corruption these cities wanted no part of it. .

      This is attempt to fight fiscal responsibility by throwing a tragedy caused by municipal government incompetence on the attempt to become fiscally responsible, the one thing the RINO in charge is kind of doing right. And in the process save Detroit’s cash cow and stave off the bankruptcy process until someone will just decide to pick up the loss for them.

      Private philanthropy lowers the crisis level which makes the situation less of a political tools to fight fiscal responsibility.

      • Oh, and the technical details are kinda cool – not something I ever had any inkling of so thanks for the info.

        I just knew I had to stop using lead solder on copper joints because….duh….lead……

    • Sorry, I was using the term in an inaccurate sense, I meant the water they’re using is causing the lead release – corrosive was indeed the wrong term.

    • I have a question: Whats more toxic lead or fluoride?
      It is fluoride, and by a good margin, so why are municipal agencies intentionally putting in this toxin?
      Given there are no brand toothpaste marketed without fluoride, along with strict instructions if you swallow more than a pea-sized dollop you must contact your poison control center immediately.

      So, again, why needlessly and intentionally poison the population? And why doesn’t anyone think that this isn’t a problem?
      Your homework: why the Nazis put fluoride in the water given to their guests in concentration camps? Hint: It wasn’t to protect their teeth.

  • Unfortunately, they’ll hold the closest Republican responsible even though he’s not.

    Whatever, this story is hilarious- and it’s not like any real Americans were hurt anyway…

  • As we all know, the best solution to a problem is more of what caused it. At what point do we, as citizens, see the “Government creates a problem -> Government tries to fix the problem -> Government “unintentionally” creates a larger problem” cycle and say enough.

    Note: I say “unintentionally” because I do believe that there are times when our government does manufacture problems so they can come in and fix them. However, I do not think this is the case in Flint. That would take a level of sociopathy only evident in a Superman comic.

    • 60 Minutes, just recently, had a segment on Billionaires working to make the world a better place through personal philanthropy.

      One of those featured on the segment wished to help the public to understand the idea of a pandemic. Hence, he financed (at least in part) the movie Contagion.

      Of course, when the public got their first dose of a possible pandemic .. the Ebola outbreak … the President of the United States told the public they were stupid to be fearful of an pandemic.

      Money well spent ?

  • Now they are building a propaganda campaign against the waste build up of bottled water bottles. Just saw a spot where Michael Moore was leading the charge and it was quite clear that he wants the people of Flint to continue to poison themselves to maintain the crisis level.

    • I recall this from my younger days – what Mr. Moore and his sort want can be thought of as equivalent to the legendary zipless F***

  • Life with Bernie is gonna be just Great!

  • Many people in Flint may want government to work better, but with sufficient donations, they may find that the private sector has supplanted many of government’s functions altogether.

    Wul, yah…

    Like many of us have been saying FOREVER. When disaster strikes, WalMart is only minutes…maybe hours…away. FEMA? Not anywhere over the horizon.

    But there IS a valid point here. A PRIVATE utility would be MORE responsible AND better managed. So simple donations DO put off the inevitable permanent-ish fix. And there needs to be one.