General Question

ibstubro's avatar

If the Federal Government picks up the tab for fixing Flint Michigan's contaminated water/crumbling infrastructure crisis, where does the Federal Government's role end?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) February 7th, 2016

Nearly every city in the United States is faced with replacing a crumbling infrastructure that includes water pipes made of lead.

Can the Federal Government, in all good conscious, spend millions/billions in Flint, and refuse the same help to every other aging American city?

Where would it end?
If there were a cholera outbreak in Chicago due to the aging sewer system, would the Federal Government be on the hook for fixing all the inner city sewers, too?

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15 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Depends on who can spend the money better. You or the government. Clean water is a basic goal that gives the most bang for the buck.

JLeslie's avatar

Maybe it should be a loan?

I thought the fed was giving out infrastructure money the last few years, I wonder if this can be justified as just another expenditure for infrastructure. Maybe if we researched all that has been spent by the fed in the last few years, helping out Flint might not seem so unjust. I didn’t know the answer, I’m just throwing it out there. Maybe other states have already received quite a bit more than MI?

ibstubro's avatar

That’s an interesting idea, @JLeslie, but as far as I know the Federal infrastructure dollars go mainly to transportation…roads, bridges and the like.
Things that facilitate commerce between states?

stanleybmanly's avatar

The cities are broke and the Federal government sinks deeper into debt. So WHERE is the money to provide the jobs necessary to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure? Where IS all the money that formerly provided all the things we took for granted? Who exactly is piling up all that money? Who is constantly asking that we hand over the rest of the country’s assets for their prudent management (at a profit). Who is never satisfied and won’t be even when they have it all.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I mean, we just print money out of thin air, so why can’t the federal government just pay for it?
Same goes for all of Bernie Sanders suggestions. We just print it, so why not give it to people who actually need it?

zenvelo's avatar

@SquirrelEStuff We don’t “just print it.”

We could fix Flint Michigan’s water problems by cancelling the F35 fighter jet program.

johnpowell's avatar

Exactly, we used to be better at paying for this stuff. And then something happened in 1982. (Warning, PDF)

stanleybmanly's avatar

F-35. One hundred million dollars apiece.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

No. It is the city’s responsibility first, then the state’s, then the fed’s.
Fed help usually takes the form of emergency, low-interest loans spread between the state and the city requiring assistance. The job is considered done when the payee agency determines the threat no longer exists.

jca's avatar

From the NY Times today:

“And while political leaders upbraid the E.P.A. and state regulators for laggard responses to crises in Flint and elsewhere, they have themselves lagged in offering support. Adjusted for inflation, the $100 million annual budget of the E.P.A.’s drinking water office has fallen 15 percent since 2006, and the office has lost more than a tenth of its staff.

States are equally hard hit. In 2013, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators said federal officials had slashed drinking-water grants, 17 states had cut drinking-water budgets by more than a fifth, and 27 had cut spending on full-time employees. “The cumulative effect of the resource gap has serious implications for states’ ability to protect public health,” the group stated.”

This is the result of people wanting government to “do more with less.”

cazzie's avatar

I gave an ugly feeling they’ve done this so they could rationalize privatization og public water systems.

ibstubro's avatar

I was drinking water from a well until 2 years ago.
Now I’m on rural water. I had to pay to have the line run to the house, and I have to read the meter myself.
What’s the Federal Government’s responsibility here?

Buttonstc's avatar

Let the state of Michigan pay for it. They’ve been running a surplus. If the federal government sends money it will be funneled through the same corrupt administration responsible for creating this mess to begin with.

Michael Moore likens it to giving the funds to the Fox to fix the chicken coop he destroyed in the first place.

But there should be federal oversight to make sure that things get done properly. The CDC and FEMA should be involved.

Read further details of Moore’s ideas here:

And here’s an interesting adaptation of the song by MJ, “They don’t care about us”

stanleybmanly's avatar

We the country of short memories are still unwilling to tolerate poison water anywhere in our country (once the fact becomes public and widespread). But that’s subject to change as crumbling infrastructure forces evermore 3rd world crises on the richest country in the world. That’s something to think about.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It’s simple, we don’t fix it. We filter the water at the end user and subsidize the cost. Filter it just before the meter. That’s got to be less expensive than digging up the whole town. Flint is not the only place with this problem either. There are even bigger infrastructure monsters lurking. I still can’t get over how much we spend on planes and ships and we let bridges and dams crumble.

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