Flint Water Crisis Underscores the Need for Big Government

Katrina vanden Heuvel argues that “the water crisis in Flint represents more than a catastrophic political failure. It is also a direct consequence of decades of policies based on the premise that government spending is always a problem and never a solution. Long before Flint tried to reduce spending by moving to a cheaper water source, the pipes that ultimately poisoned the water were neglected. Across the country, crumbling infrastructure is a pervasive threat that is creating serious issues in other cities and could produce similar crises . As Michigan State University economist Eric Scorsone explained , ‘Flint is an extreme case, but nationally, there’s been a lack of investment in water infrastructure. This is a common problem nationally — infrastructure maintenance has not kept up.’”

“Frustration and distrust of government is understandable when politicians like [Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder] and their cronies are so blatantly unaccountable to the public. Indeed, when government is polluted by officials who put corporate interests above their constituents and cost-cutting above the common good, it too often fails to fulfill even its most basic functions, such as protecting access to safe drinking water. But instead of giving in to anger and austerity, in this election, we should be having a vigorous debate about how government can be truly accountable to the people it serves.”

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