Party Of Personal Responsibility In Action: Snyder Blames Public Employees For The Flint Water Crisis

Rick Snyder has it out for public employees, like most Republicans, and his most recent big business-approved talking point about the Flint water crisis proves that.

But hey, what do you expect from the Party of Personal Responsibility? Clearly not personal responsibility.

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Pin the Blame on the Public Employee

In the sense Snyder is a public employee, he’s absolutely correct. However, this talking point doesn’t apply to him, and it isn’t meant to. It’s for the blue and white collar public employees, who Snyder has been attacking all along.

While sitting in with Fox and Friends, Snyder blamed everyone in the government for the crisis — just, you know, not him:

This is where government failed. There was far too much effort to talk about doing testing, following protocols, to follow the lead and copper rules, and not enough focus on common sense.

. . .

The point is, our government people, these civil service people, didn’t agree with their conclusions and didn’t understand until a month or so later. And that delayed our action plan, and I feel terrible about that.

I bet you do, Rick. And while Snyder said he bears some responsibility, it’s ironic he’d spin right back around and put the blame on public employees faster than you can blink.

The talking point originated with Reason magazine, a digital libertarian rag that’s so full of itself it’s almost an accident on the handful of times when they publish something that’s right. It was retweeted by ALEC — because of course corporatist zoophytes are going to jump aboard any chance they can get to swing at union workers — and it’s been picked up by the right-wing.

What’s the reasoning behind Reason’s article? Well, stop me if you’ve heard this all before, but . . . 

Let’s not forget the reason why local authorities felt the need to find a cheaper water source: Flint is broke and its desperately poor citizens can’t afford higher taxes to pay the pensions of city government retirees. As recently as 2011, it would have cost every person in Flint $10,000 each to cover the unfunded legacy costs of the city’s public employees.

The #FlintWaterCrisis is not a blueprint for what would happen if libertarians abolished government and let poor people drink poisoned water, as some enemies of free markets are no doubt claiming. Instead, it’s a great example of government failing to efficiently provide even the most basic of public services due to a characteristically toxic combination of administrative bloat and financial mismanagement.

But as long as the media is tossing out blame, perhaps Flint’s public employees—who cannibalized a dying city’s finances—deserve more than just a drop?

The chutzpah on display here is staggering. The EM system, which gave Snyder the power to make rules via fiat, is the result of ALEC attempting to attack state employee pensions. And now these corporatist tools are blaming employee pensions for what caused it?

Make no mistake: Reason is a corporatist speakerphone. This wannabe anarchist rag is brought to you by the letter “K” for Koch.

Flint is a perfect blueprint for what happens in a libertarian system. Libertarians are universally anti-tax or opposed to taxes, and with Flint, you have very little tax base. This means there’s no money for the civil service — for the longest, Flint was operating with a handful police officers, so there was almost no government in the city at all. Isn’t this what libertarians want? Very little government, with no tax base?

That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. We all know what they want. They want the same quality of life they have now without having to pay for it, so they can live off the backs of the people who do fund it and model themselves after the rich and upper middle-class parasites they pretend to be. They use rhetoric cribbed from Ayn Rand to mask it, justifying her hatred of libertarians as intellectual cowards and thieves.

And this is spreading to candidates in the 2016 Republican race, as well:

The Republican made frequent references to “culture” during the interview, complaining about public agencies lacking a “culture of asking the common-sense questions,” adding there’s “a huge bureaucratic problem and it’s part of the problem with culture in government.”

The rhetoric was jarring in large part because it came from the governor himself. When Rick Snyder refers to problems with “government,” he’s specifically talking about Rick Snyder’s administration. The decisions that did so much damage in Flint were made by emergency managers appointed by the governor himself.

Even the state Department of Environmental Quality employees Snyder is now blaming are employees who answer to him.

At one point, he added, “Let’s look at the entire cultural background of how people have been operating” – which is to say, the culture of how people have been operating in Snyder’s own administration.

Snyder’s rhetoric is starting to line up with some of what we’re hearing from Republican presidential candidates, who were stubbornly silent on the crisis for too long, but who are slowly addressing the disaster publicly.

Frankly, I’d rather they be silent than be subjected to Trump blaming it on Mexicans and Muslims. The GOP candidates aren’t bringing anything productive if they get elected, so them shutting up and not saying anything is about the most honest thing they could do on this issue.

And Snyder, well, he belongs in jail. End of story.

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