A deadly pretense

uncle-sam 02

Most people would rather die, and would rather see their own children die, than stop pretending that the U.S. government is “broke,” and needs tax revenue. I mean that literally, not metaphorically. They would rather die than stop pretending. And they are indeed pretending, since they know that the U.S. government can “print” infinite dollars. (I exclude Ellen Brown and her cult members, who believe that all money is created by banks as loans.)

Now it has come out that communities across the USA have lead contamination in their water. Flint Michigan is only one example.

We could solve this crisis by replacing all the lead components. This would improve our health, and would create many jobs. But most people would rather go on pretending.

not happening

So, one pretense is that the U.S. government cannot create money. A different kind of pretense, just as destructive, is that yes, the government can create money, but doing so would wreck the economy. “The government is creating so much money that U.S. dollars have become worthless!”

worthless dollars

This too is a pretense, because everyone is desperate to get more of the “worthless” dollars.

A variant on this stupidity goes like this: “She thinks she can solve our money shortages by giving us more money, and ending the shortages! How absurd!”

Here’s an example in the U.K. Daily Mail blog…

UK Mail

It has hurled billions at the banks without managing to get them lending and trimmed VAT with negligible effect on struggling stores. Now Labour is considering a new tactic to deal with the recession – simply print more money.

Oh no! We have a depression because average people don’t have any money to spend. We could cure the depression by creating more money and putting it into the economy, but that would be ridiculous. The government can’t simply create money and put it into the economy (even though that is exactly what the government does).

This article was from 2009 when Gordon Brown was PM, and Labour held power in the U.K. parliament. It was “ridiculous” to boost the economy by adding money to it.

Chancellor Alistair Darling and Bank of England governor Mervyn King were said to be contemplating the remarkable and risky measure used with catastrophic consequences by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

Ah yes, the obligatory Zimbabwe reference. This is like calling someone “Hitler,” or dismissing someone’s explanation as a “conspiracy theory.” The instant someone does that, they expose themselves as liars.

zimbabwe

The article also gives the obligatory Weimar Germany reference.

Incidentally this may have been why Gordon Brown was Prime Minister for only three years. He was replaced by David Cameron, who says that if people don’t have enough money to keep the economy going, the solution is to make people even poorer. After all, austerity = prosperity.

For the corporate media outlets, whatever widens the Gap between the rich and the rest is “fiscal prudence.” Whatever narrows the Gap is “ridiculous.”

And don’t forget the inflation bogeyman. The article says that giving people more money to spend would “drive down the value of the pound.”

Garbage. Suppose everyone was given ten thousand pounds to spend as he wished. People would use it to pay down their debts, or they would by cars, or clothes, or whatever. Other people would take a vacation, or start a small business. Others would put it into a bank, for use when it became necessary. Others would invest it.

The point is that everyone would sooner or later spend it or invest it.

Inflation only becomes a problem when there is too much money in circulation, and not enough things to spend it on. The U.K. is nowhere near that condition.

So, even if people stop pretending that the federal government is “broke,” they still say we must have less money and more austerity.

LIES

Here’s the U.K. Mail again…

Mr Darling today distanced himself from speculation he was planning such a drastic move, insisted discussions at this stage were only “hypothetical”.

“Nobody is talking about printing money,” he said. “There’s a debate to be had about what you do to support the economy as interest rates approach zero as they are in the United States. But for us that is an entirely hypothetical debate.”

However, rumors it is being considering at the highest levels at the Treasury have been circulating since before Christmas.

Got it? If the economy is depressed because people don’t have enough money, then putting more money into the economy is crazy and dangerous. It is a “drastic move.” Meanwhile sucking more money out of the money-starved economy is “fiscal prudence.”

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Anyway, as I noted above, we’ve got lead contamination across the USA.

A multi-part USA Today investigation published this week identified almost 2,000 water systems in all 50 states that have excessive levels of lead contamination.

“Excessive levels” is a bullshit phrase, since lead is poisonous in any amount. There is no “safe level” of lead contamination.

According to USA Today’s analysis of EPA data, about 350 schools and day-care centers failed lead tests a total of 470 times from 2012 through 2015.

Lead is cumulatively neurotoxic, especially in children. It affects the brain. Could lead contamination have something to do with the ADHD epidemic? Sarah Frostenson wrote for Vox that, “In some places outside of Flint, more than half of children test positive for lead poisoning.

Beginning in the 1920s, lead (tetraethyllead) was added to gasoline as an anti-knock measure. For decades, Americans who lived near highways dropped dead from cancer and other ailments connected with lead poisoning. However the government said there was “no proof” that lead poisoning caused…ummm…lead poisoning. Finally in the mid-1970s the deaths became so extreme that the U.S. government mandated that lead not be added to gasoline.

Even today, however, lead is still added to some grades of aviation gasoline. The lead (tetraethyllead) is manufactured bv Innospec Specialty Chemicals of Englewood Colorado. In 2010 the company was caught bribing officials in Iraq and Indonesia to continue using lead as a fuel additive. The officials took the bribe money, knowing that they were condemning vast numbers of people to lead poisoning.

plane

NPR ran a story yesterday on how more and more schools have been forced to remove their drinking fountains, and give bottled water to the kids. The Guardian reported Thursday on “startlingly elevated” levels of lead in Jackson, Mississippi’s drinking water. Same with an elementary school outside of Fresno, according to California’s Desert Sun on Wednesday.

fountain

About 22% of homes in Jackson, Mississippi, exceeded the federal “action” lead level of 15 parts per billion, according to government tests done in June. Compare that with Flint, where researchers from Virginia Tech sampled hundreds of homes as residents begged for help and found 16.7% of homes exceeded the federal “action” lead level, though the sampling methodology may be different in the two cases.

Jackson Mississippi is predominantly Black, so officials did not notify the city of the results until January, and it was not until February that the state issued a warning for pregnant women and small children.

Why does this happen? No money.

Why is there no money? Selfishness and stupidity.

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