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.
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.