In Flint, Michigan, a series of cost-cutting Republican decisions led to the city’s water being poisoned and the residents suffering the consequences. Michigan has elected a Republican Governor, and a congress with a majority of Republicans and Republican leadership. This situation continues to exist, primarily because of gerrymandering.
The Republican politicians in Michigan have been using a combination of the Ayn Rand philosophy and short-term planning and thinking. There are no long term, big picture goals for making Michigan a better place to live, or for attaining more business and tourists. Their focus is on using the absolute minimum amount of money and energy to support basic maintenance, and their goal is not to improve, but to reduce expenses, including maintenance costs. The idea is, this will lead to lower taxes.
President Obama, speaking at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit on Jan 20, 2016, discussed the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. He said,
“It is a reminder of why you can’t shortchange basic services that we provide to our people and that we, together, provide as a government to make sure that the public health and safety is preserved.”
In this one statement, President Obama explained a basic failure in the Republican philosophy. We have a government for multiple reasons, but first and foremost is the protection of the public health and safety of our citizens. In Flint, the Republican Governor appointed Kevyn Orr an “emergency manager,” who overrode the local government, and decided to save money, without researching the consequences of his actions. (This is the same emergency manager that left Detroit with no money for its school system.) He changed the water source from treated Detroit water to local river water. Lead leeched into the city water from the pipes carrying the untreated water, because the river water was so acidic. Everyone drinking the water was poisoned. Children are very susceptible to lead poisoning, because their brains and bodies are still forming.
The Republican Party fails at protecting and governing the people, because their goal is to lower taxes for the rich. This ideology has become so intensely supported by corporate interests and the wealthy, that the government is effectively crippled in performing its responsibilities.
When the government is not willing to provide basic maintenance to its infrastructure, nor for the research necessary for intelligent decision making, situations like Flint’s poison drinking water become predictable. Republicans continuously act as if there is no valid reason for oversight, or responsible intelligent decision making. Their efforts to run governments on the cheap are destroying America’s infrastructure and poisoning its people.