Government Run Like a Business Poisons Kids

By Leo W. Gerard


The people of Michigan hired themselves a GOP businessman to be governor in 2011. And what they got was children poisoned by public water in Flint.


That is, what they got was a government run based on GOP business values.


To line the pockets of CEOs and shareholders, corporations cut corners in ways that frequently end up injuring workers and the public. Think of the Upper Big Branch mine disaster where safety violations

Last week, in his state of the state address, GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, formerly a venture capitalist, apologized to the people of Flint who have been drinking water tainted with a known, potent neurotoxin since April of 2014. And then Snyder said, “I will fix it.”


Lead poisoning is irreversible. It can’t be fixed. In addition, now, two outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease that sickened 87 and killed 10 have been linked to the foul water. There’s no fixing dead people.


The GOP businessman-governor also said in his state of the state address last week: “Government failed you.” That’s exactly what Republicans want. They want government to fail so that they can justify crushing it, eliminating much of what it does for people and turning over the rest to private business, which profits by cutting corners the way Peanut Corporation of America did.


Then, when it all falls apart like it did in Flint, it’s amazing how quick those Republicans put their hands out for a federal bailout. That’s what Snyder did. He’s a venture capitalist, after all. That’s the Wall Street way.

Michigan didn’t have to poison Flint’s children. That was a values choice. And Republican Gov. Rick Snyder values big business more than little children.


Immediately after Snyder got elected, he gave his corporate buddies a big fat tax break and raised taxes on individuals, including poor people and pensioners. An analysis by the Detroit Free Press in 2014 showed individuals were forking over a total of $900 million more a year. By contrast, businesses paid $1.7 billion less annually after Snyder cut their tax bills.


If corporations had paid their fair share in taxes over the five years that Snyder has been in charge, Michigan would have an additional $8.5 billion to help struggling cities like Flint afford clean water and struggling school districts like Detroit afford decent education. But giving businesses a tax break was more important to GOP businessman Snyder.


Long before Snyder took office, Flint fell into financial trouble as the auto industry abandoned it. But the Republican governor’s administration appointed the emergency manager who decided to disconnect Flint from a safe public water source and draw instead from the Flint River to save between $1 million and $2 million a year.


Almost immediately, the people of Flint began complaining. The Flint River water was yellow, orange or brown. It tasted and smelled bad. It caused rashes and nausea. It produced so much corrosion at a GM plant that the factory switched to another water source.


The public water that had been …read more

Source: More Fitness

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