The Austin Chronicle

The Hightower Report

The real stink in Flint, Michigan's water scandal

By Jim Hightower, February 19, 2016, News

The tap water in Flint, Michigan, is not the only thing that stinks and leaves a horrible taste in one's mouth.

The governor and his agency heads who caused the sudden appearance of lead and other toxins in the water that the families of Flint drank and showered in for a year and a half are even more disgusting. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, a laissez-fairyland corporate ideologue, supported the switch of Flint's water source from Lake Huron to the cheaper stuff in the contaminated Flint River, claiming that this could cut some $2 million from the city's budget. Never mind that the corrosive river water caused lead to leach from the city's pipes into the water that every resident uses. For more than a year, Snyder and his agency heads denied that this might pose a health problem, even mocking locals who complained about the foul liquid coming out of their taps.

Recently, however, a citizens' group called Progress Michigan uncovered internal documents from Snyder's budget department revealing that in January of last year the agency's honchos were so alarmed by Flint's toxic-laced H2O that they supplied coolers filled with bottled water for their employees in the Flint office. Yes, Snyder's budgeters were not about to drink that poisonous stuff themselves. A January 2015 advisory from the budget agency's headquarters assured the Flint office that pure, bottled water "will be provided [on each floor of the office] as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements." This cynical, self-serving move came a full year before nationwide public outrage finally forced Snyder to provide safe, bottled water to the regular people of Flint.

The Flint water scandal is a perfect expression of the right-wing mentality of self-entitlement. To them, "public service" means elites serving themselves – the actual public be damned.

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