Flint Michigan is only the tip of the iceberg. Lead pipes are everywhere, especially in older homes where poor people live. And America’s plumbing infrastructure in many places is old and decrepit.
The U.S. government has reduced its cash outlays for water infrastructure by more than 80 percent since 1980. And since cities do not have enough money to fix their own water systems, we will see many more Flints in the near future.
We could fix it all, but the U.S. government is “broke,” even though the government creates limitless money out of thin air.
Even now, more and more lead poisoning scandals are coming to the surface. There is a lead poisoning problem in Milwaukee Wisconsin. There is lead poisoning in Shreveport Louisiana, and also in Sebring, Ohio. There is even lead in the water in the Washington D.C. area.
In each case, politicians knew about the poisoning but did nothing, since politicians are only concerned with enriching themselves and their owners. In each case the state-level Environmental Protection Agencies covered up the hazard until there were too many victims to ignore. In each case the victims’ complaints were ignored, and now they have permanent and irreversible damage. In each case the guilty parties will not go to jail.
There will be no change in federal politicians’ austerity policies. Privatization and neo-liberalism will continue as always.
So far, most Americans are ignoring this nightmare, because the victims have tended to be poor and non-white, and they will continue to be mainly poor and non-white as they expand in number. But soon the poisoning will start moving up the social ladder as more and more of our infrastructure fails from lack of federal funding. And when your community is poisoned, your house falls to zero in value.
The “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” (CDC) will ignore this nightmare for as long as possible. The CDC is designed to help the pharmaceutical industry boost its profits, and to protect Big Pharma whenever it kills people. For example, synthetic aspirin was invented just after World War One. Doctors prescribed this new “wonder drug” in such massive overdoses that it make people very sick. In response, doctors prescribed even more, killing tens of thousands of people. (Overdoses of aspirin can be lethal.) When the medical industry finally realized what it was doing, it hushed everything up with the help of federal politicians, and claimed that all the victims had been killed by…(get this)…influenza! Laughably they claimed that it had killed hundreds of millions of people. Of course, the instant that doctors stopped over-prescribing the new synthetic aspirin, the “influenza” disappeared.
Nonetheless the CDC still maintains this “influenza lie” to this very day. Anything to protect Big Pharma, whose executives rotate in and out of the CDC like financial executives rotate in and out of the U.S. Treasury. Or retired military generals rotate into the weapons manufacturing industry.
In 2004 when lead was found in the water in the Washington D.C. area, the CDC refused to do anything until politicians started insisting.
No organism on earth can survive without water. So when people talk about “repairing America’s infrastructure,” one of the first things we need to do is fix the water systems. Some estimates say that doing this would require a federal investment of $1 trillion over 25 years.
One article says that lead poisoning in other parts of Michigan is even worse than it is in Flint.
In at least 30 zip codes in more than 13 cities across the state, elevated levels of lead have been detected in a shocking percentage of local children — sometimes at almost five times the rate of kids in Flint, according to the The Detroit News. Some 20% of kids under 6 years old tested in parts of Detroit — and between 7% and 12% in parts of Saginaw, Ludington, Lansing, Highland Park, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck and a handful of other cities in Michigan have elevated levels of lead in their blood.
Like I said, this is just the beginning.