End Mass Criminalization of Black and Brown Youth

End Racism and Discrimination

End Homelessness Now

Expand and Protect Social Security

Support Labor, Jobs for All

The People's Budget

Gender-Neutral Treatment - The Equal Rights Amendment

Thursday, 07 April 2016 00:00

The United States of Flint

Written by Olivia Alperstein, Progressive Congress and Jonathan Alan King, Massachusetts Budget for All Campaign | DailyKos
The United States of Flint (Photo: hildgrim / Flickr)

Our outdated infrastructure will fall apart if we don't invest in repairing it — that's just physics.

The horrible, preventable crisis in Flint, Michigan shows that when the government shortchanges our infrastructure, people pay the price.

Flint has become a living hell for its residents.

The water is brown, poisoned with lead, and too corrosive to use on skin or clothes. Scientists have predicted that all the children poisoned by lead will suffer physical and developmental problems as they grow up. Houses have damaged pipes, and the city claims it doesn’t have enough resources to replace them.

Worst of all, state officials knew about this crisis and could have prevented it for as little as $100 a day. But Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and the emergency manager he appointed to govern Flint failed to protect the city’s residents.

Flint isn’t the only city that’s suffering. Across the country, aging pipes, roads, and sewage systems are putting families at risk.

Yet the United States hasn’t embarked on an infrastructure project on the scale that’s needed since the Great Depression, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt created hundreds of thousands of jobs by initiating the largest public works project in history.

With so much infrastructure overdue for a major overhaul, it’s time to put Americans back to work by investing in the roads and pipes that keep our communities functioning and safe.

The People’s Budget, a federal spending plan developed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, commits $1 trillion to upgrading and replacing infrastructure across the country. It specifically allocates $765 million to replace the pipes in Flint and provide its residents with the services they need to recover from this horrible tragedy.

This shouldn’t be a political issue — our outdated infrastructure will fall apart if we don’t repair it. That’s physics.

But the political implications are grim. Crumbling bridges and ramshackle school buildings disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color, where infrastructure is often already underfunded and under-maintained. And thanks to lower property taxes, local officials often have little incentive or ability to make repairs.

Moreover, these communities are more likely to be near environmentally hazardous waste treatment and power plants. And they’re less likely to be adequately protected against risks of flooding or other environmental disasters — as we saw with the devastating damage to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

Communities affected by such catastrophes take years, if not decades, to recover. Meanwhile residents suffer as companies and factories leave, taking with them not only jobs, but much of the local tax base. Residents lose their livelihoods as well as their means of funding repairs.

Yet it’s lives — not just livelihoods — that are at stake here. Communities like Flint need a federal budget that makes a real commitment to helping them rebuild and renew. And all of us need a budget that creates jobs, improves communities, and invests in the services and programs that people need to recover from crises.

We need new spending priorities that will restore prosperity and invest in American communities.

In short, we need the People’s Budget — and we need it now. The Flints of America can’t wait any longer.

Olivia Alperstein is the Communications and Policy Associate at Progressive Congress. ProgressiveCongress.org
Distributed by OtherWords.org

Link to original article from Other Words

Read 3341 times Last modified on Thursday, 07 April 2016 00:21

Latest Economic and Social Justice News

  • 1

Willie Nelson - Keeping the Postal Service Alive

Email President Obama Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Featured News

  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • BREAKING: Cop Who Shot Keith Scott on Video Will Not Be Charged +

    The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Read More
  • Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate +

    In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Clinton Campaign Joins Jill Stein’s Recount Of Votes In Wisconsin +

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Saturday announced they would participate in former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount of the Read More
  • Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t +

    In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22

Economic and Social Justice Calls

  • 5-4-2016 Economic and Social Justice Call
    The team explores the concept, economic theories and realities of achieving Full Employment in the current economy. Guests include Conor Williams, the secretary of the Transitional Jobs Collaborative in Milwaukee and Michael Darner, Executive Director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
  • 02-03-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    Listen to this month's call led by Jim Carpenter as we discuss the state of our current economy, the impact of poor economic choices, and the other factors that play into the declining situation around the country, and in the world in this open and guided conversation.
  • 01-06-2016 Economic & Social Justice
    PDAction Board Member Donald Whitehead, and former Ex. Dir. of the Coalition for the Homeless leads the discussion on homelessness, with input from Joel Segal, PDAmerica founding member and National Director of the Justice Action Mobilization Network. Special focus is given to the housing crisis, the role of the banks, programs used by other countries to alleviate the problem, as well as the fact that women are the most adversely affected by this issue. H Con Res 98 - Resolve to Eliminate Homelessness - has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) and is endorsed on this call.