But I always think Flint is prime for opportunity. The people need basic essentials, water, food, shelter. But the infrastructure to build factories is there. Power, train lines, the whole deal. It's really a shame. The sad part is, the people are still hell bent on supporting the companies that destroyed the town. Michigan in general is like this, its why they don't allow Tesla vehicle sales.
Growing up my family owned a junkyard and the Flint river ran behind it. It was disgusting. Some of the guys would wade through it on their way two and from work. It was a shortcut, but you had to be a true animal to go that route.
https://goo.gl/maps/ssGZRAdiQak (memorial garden?)
As a Swede, I guess I didn't really realize how bad things really got in parts of the US. The last 50 years is just one crisis after another for this place: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint%2C_Michigan#History
To me, there's something really heartbreaking about abandoned and decaying houses. It's all too easy to imagine the hopes and dreams that didn't play out they way they should have.
I lived 2 hours away from there in Central Michigan from end of 2008 - 2010. One of the sadder experiences I had was, one day while out on my daily walk around the neighborhood, there were a mass of people standing around one of the houses. I walked up to see what was happening, and the entire house and all of its contents had been abandoned without packing; little kids toys scattered on the floor where they played, wheel borrows, brooms hanging in the garage, plates on the kitchen shelves -- all being auctioned off one after another. They were literally taking them out of the cupboards and off the floor and an auctioneer (presumably hired by the mortgage owning bank) went down the sad road of dispensing of everything to anyone who wanted it.
And actually there were three auctioneers -- front yard, back yard, and inside, gradually dismantling an entire family's life for anyone to see, and participate in.
I think pensions end up being a big factor. A city of 100,000 people is going to have some trouble keeping up the payments owed by the former city of 200,000. I guess as a society we need to remember to be really careful about promising compensation and then finding funds for it later (pensions were also a big factor in bankrupting GM and Chrysler).
I've been able to travel into Detroit a few times sense moving to Ann arbor and the difference is truly shocking. Even more so when you consider the distance between the places (about 45 minute drive). I highly recommend checking out Detroit in person if you get the opportunity, pictures just simply do the place justice.
The west side of the state is nice, but it doesnt really compare to the larger (and wealthier) markets on the East side of the state:
Birmingham, Bloomfield hills, Troy, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Ferndale, Grosse pointe, etc.
The far more obvious dichotomy is Oakland county vs Wayne county.
Wayne county(county where Detroit is located):
>About 18.6% of families and 23.7% of the population were below the poverty line
Oakland county (county just north of Wayne):
>About 3.80% of families and 5.50% of the population were below the poverty line
Kent county (grand rapids location):
>8.90% of the population and 6.30% of families were below the poverty line.
Source: lived in Michigan 22 years
I'm often surprised by the ways businesses behave. I was in northern MA last month at a tech company that had recently built a new office building. Not 5 miles away was the town center, which was once a manufacturing hub. In town there were a couple old brick textile factories that were absolutely beautiful old buildings sitting vacant. Those building seem like the exact thing i've seen a couple startups trying to simulate in an office building (hard wood floors, retro lamps, etc with modern open floor plan). Running a medium sized tech company out of a 200 year old textile factory says something, but no one apparently wants to say it. Sure there would be some remodeling expense putting in power/etc but I can't imagine its a huge fraction more than long term rental/ownership/maint of the crap buildings being thrown up that start to fall apart after 10 years.
However, as someone else said, you don't renovate these kind of properties because it's cheaper than building a generic business park. You do it because you're willing to spend extra for something with history and character.
Look at the last sale price of this building, $535.00 five hundred!!
Sale prices obscure some of the more expensive parts of a sale -- leins on the title and back taxes. Sometimes you do get a property for cheap, but always do your due diligence.
Here's another example:
Here's an older paper from the state of RI:
So one note from that paper: northern RI alone had 10mil sq ft of vacant mill building space.
That's a lot. It will take a lot of rebuilding to come close to reclaiming all the space in those old buildings.
Also, those old buildings didn't always take into account things like, say, HVAC efficiency. That kind of retrofitting takes money.
Is this a project you'd still be interested in?
Why are you are a loss for words? This doesn't look significantly different from the town I grew up in (well near). I feel like I'm missing something.
The sights in these photos that you (and I, who grew up in Florida) think are pretty common, are quite rare in Sweden. That is, it's rare to find houses with boarded up windows, or missing part of its siding, or burnt down and in a state of decay. Suburban areas are almost all immaculate, with well kept lawns, and solid construction.
Rare, but not impossible. Here's one https://email@example.com,12.4528682,3a,37.5y,... . Just down the street is the old market and gas station https://firstname.lastname@example.org,12.4544937,3a,37.5y,... .
I can gave a hand-waving explanation. This picture is from Edsleskog, a town that used to be more of a real town. Cars didn't become common in Swede until the 1960 or so. (Sweden was a relatively poor country, and I have a Swedish book from the 1950s where two children visit the US and are astonished that a family might have two cars, when a family in Sweden might have a moped.)
But once cars became common, people preferred to drive the 15 minutes to get to the bigger, nearby city of Åmål for shopping and other errands, and for work. Some of the older building are now no longer useful. Since that area has had the population growth that the cities have had, older places are left to decay, rather than be replaced with something more useful.
You're right, I'm just not used to seeing things like this I guess.
For the Americans who have not traveled abroad, countries in northern Europe, Canada/Australia generally do not have the level of poverty some parts of US suffers.
The average after government transfer income of the bottom quintile of households in the US is ~$25,000, which is slightly more than the after government transfers to the bottom quintile of households in the UK. Meanwhile the middle quintile of income earners in the UK is about $20,000 short of the middle US quintile.
It's absolutely true that many of the indigenous reserves here are a living tragedy... in fact, like Australia, we have a long and shameful history with respect to our indigenous population, a history that we're still writing today (recently the CBC had to shut down comments on stories about indigenous issues due the quantity of hateful comments they attract).
That said, small town Canada can absolutely suffer as bad as anywhere in the US (just like America's coal and steel towns, it's not unusual for small towns to be dependent on a single industry, and if that industry suffers the town suffers...).
However, we don't tend to have the same level of urban blight and decay as you see in some American cities.
Most of those have towns in them.
> However, we don't tend to have the same level of urban blight and decay as you see in some American cities.
There are plenty of run-down areas and derelict industrial objects in and around Montreal. It is true you cannot compare Montreal to select cities like Detroit or Newark, but that is because the urban blight there is exclusively a product of systemic racism against blacks in the United States. This is why it makes more sense to compare Detroit to Native towns. Indigenous people in Canada face blatant and open discrimination today that is comparable to what blacks face in the United States.
Walk a block over to Grosse Point: $89,492 93% white (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grosse_Pointe,_Michigan)
Royal Oak: $52,252 90% white (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Oak,_Michigan)
Livonia: $68,973 92% white (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/26/2649000.html)
There are just huge differences in property styles in different parts of the US, and between urban and rural properties.
The latter more or less equals the difference in GDP, correcting for purchasing power (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PP...)
The death of the city's economy is completely evident in that view alone...
The same dynamics can be seen with companies that operate on a negative cash flow basis and who fail to properly buffer a period of improved revenue that later reverts to the mean -- short-term prosperity can mean long-term impovershment.
I was just trying to explain what aspects of the pictures could cause "a loss of words" for an unfamiliar viewer.
1) A burned down building (which has been in that state for some time)
2) Boarded up storefronts
3) Plants growing over the unused fences, which themselves are starting to fall over
4) The lots behind the fences look to have been empty for decades
5) Visibly aging concrete
6) Crumbling sidewalks with plants coming up between the tiles
7) at least 3 of the 5 vehicles are from no newer than ~1998
Combine that with the overcast weather, and the bleak color palette of the remaining buildings, and it looks pretty depressing. :(
Maybe it's not representative: maybe on a sunnier day, the greenery would make it look lush and liveable, but as it stands it's definitely an unfortunate looking Street View, that one...
I'm not sure how long the building has been in that state, but I would imagine less than a year from the vegetation, but that's hard to judge if it all dies in winter. Then again, vegetation usually grows very quickly in those areas. That said, small municipalities move slower, they have less leeway in the budget to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
A lot of what you're stated seems to indicate that you see the open areas here as a sign of neglect or failure. Often in rural areas, building are much more spread out unless they are are towards the town center. There's no reason to build next to someone if you can have a lot or two between you and them. As a city expands, these are naturally filled in as sparse building pushes farther out from the town center and some people don't want to be that far out.
As for the sidewalks and concrete, areas with wet winters that continually fluctuate between freezing and non-freezing temperatures are particularly bad on brick and concrete buildings. The continual expansion of the water when it turns into ice and back into water quickly destroys concrete in these areas. Michigan is known to be particularly bad.
In truth, looking down GlenWood Ave from that picture looks fairly pleasant to me. This could easily be a few hundred feet in either of the towns my parents are from in rural Wisconsin, and much of those towns looks fairly pleasant, if extremely spread out, to my eyes.
For comparison, here's another random spot I found by just choosing a place in google maps and zooming in. Every town has some run-down areas if it's old enough, but having a run-down area doesn't necessarily mean the economy is dead (but I'm not disputing that the economy is likely bad, just that the picture is more indicative of an area than a situation).
In some areas, work that needs to be done by the town or county may take a while. Sometimes that's the nature of living in a rural area.
I'm not blaming Flint (or any other town in the Rust Belt), just pointing out concrete items that could leave unfamiliar people "at a loss for words".
Under the circumstances, this seems to support the notion of a dying city perhaps giving up.
It doesn't help that the local government is sometimes even more incompetent than the Federal Government either. I mean, redirecting the entire city water-supply to a poisoned river? That's some grade A F---ed up right there.
In any case, America overall is a strong country, but the worst parts of America are equivalent to a 3rd-World nation.
There was a documentary on this (with mostly simulated desolation): http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1433058/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2
> As a Swede
That said, my understanding is that the area is brutally cold and wet, and that buildings and infrastructure there quickly goes to shit because of that unless it had regular thorough upkeep.
Not exactly truthful. Most "free trade" recent agreements (past ~30 years or so) come with some sort of TAA support .
Why is it the federal government's responsibility to do these things? These are implied powers which the states have responsibility for. The Constitution does not reserve any of these for the federal government.
You can't ignore human ego, denial, and the power of convention. All one-industry towns wane when their one industry either falls or moves. People complain, panic, and some even try to move to find better luck elsewhere.
Ultimately, the largest anchor tends to be housing/property, which in the US tends to be paid for by long term debt. When a town loses its economic engine, demand to move there drops to near zero and the housing values fall underwater at the same time when people need to leave. I fail to see why the federal government should be on the hook for something like this. It would be subsidizing failure in a large way.
Because their cost imposed by federal internal and external policies adopted under the Congress' Commerce Clause powers (including when they are caused by decisions not to exercise Commerce Clause powers -- a decision not to act within granted power is itself an use of the power), and because while certain cities may the poster children for the problem, quite often when regional industries are effect, its not just one city in one state, but a whole state (or several) that suffer substantial net negative effects.
The commercial policy that Congress pursues which results in these harms is usually done on the premise that it is ultimately the best on balance for the nation as a whole, and that the harms some areas experience are more the compensated by the benefits experienced elsewhere in the country. Which may be true, on balance, but if it is, then taxing those that benefit to provide support to those that are harmed should be able to remediate the damage to those harmed while still leaving those who benefit ahead.
Based on what?
> So there are parts of the US comparable to all the parts of the EU -- rich countries and poor ones.
The US is far more diverse and mixed than the EU, in every respect. You have those that are poor living blocks away from the wealthiest people in the world.
My own state of New Jersey is one of the most affluent, but also has one of the most dangerous cities in the whole country.
It's fundamentalist opposition to welfare and social programs and universal healthcare even when people are struggling and suffering can give that impression.
> The US is far more diverse and mixed than the EU
What are you basing that on? The EU is over 50 countries with their own languages and customs and politics.
We have welfare and a multitude of social programs design to assist those who need help. You can walk into any emergency room in the country and receive whatever care you need even without insurance or payment on-hand. Mind you, the government provides insurance to the poor and elderly. It has been this way for a very long time.
A full 66% of our federal budget is devoted to exactly these types of programs. That's over 2 trillion dollars. Every year.
Where are you getting your silly notions?
> What are you basing that on? The EU is over 50 countries with their own languages and customs and politics.
I wasn't talking about the country-level. Read what I wrote.
The US is highly diverse on a street level. Rich live with the poor, side by side. This is not the case in Europe. In Europe, the classes are highly segregated.
In the US, there is a very real attempt at having diverse neighborhoods with people of different backgrounds living side by side. Can you point to the same in the EU? And you want to talk about equality?
While this is a benefit of sorts (you won't actually be allowed to die due to lack of funds), it's not like the work you receive is free. You'll end up paying it back to someone.
Where I live, for example, the county tends to pay off debt like this to the hospital for a significantly smaller portion of the cost. They will allow you to finance it for a very long time, but you will still pay for it. Until it's paid for, even if it takes a very long time. If the county decides not to help you (maybe, for example, you're not a taxpaying resident of the place you ended up going to the emergency room in) then the hospital will bill you for it. They might, after hounding you for a while, charge you only pennies on the dollar to pay it. Or they might be convinced to write it off - which they do occasionally, but only occasionally.
The only sure way to avoid paying debt accrued through emergency medical services is to have no assets.
We absolutely do not, and it is disingenuous to claim otherwise. Europe has vastly less wealth disparity, and many more social welfare programs that ensure a pretty high degree of social mobility. The United States doesn't hold a candle to most of Europe in this regard. And you know something infuriating? My tax rate is only 10% less where I live in the States than what it will be when I move to Sweden. Our taxes are high as hell and we get basically nothing for them. A nice weapons development program, and there's something to be said for that, and then the Social Security ponzi scheme. But nothing else. Sweden has a huge number of beneficial programs that actually help people when they need it.
And your one citation is from the Heritage Foundation.
How does the income disparity between Flint and San Francisco compare to the income disparity between Luxembourg and Bulgaria? Between Germany and Romania?
> My tax rate is only 10% less where I live in the States than what it will be when I move to Sweden.
No. The Swedish deduction is $2,690 - in the US it's between $6,300 and $12,600. Not to mention that our federal tax rates top out at about 2/3 of the maximum Swedish tax rate (sub-40% compared to 59.7%). Highest state sales tax is under 12% while Swedish VAT is up to 25%. Not to mention capital gains in Sweden is twice what it is in the US unless you make nearly half a million a year, in which case it's only 10 points higher (30% v. 15%/20%)
> And your one citation is from the Heritage Foundation.
I would say the source has little relevance if what it's saying is accurate (which it is).
Your experience is irrelevant if it directly contradicts facts and math. Until you supply some numbers I'm assuming you're including things that aren't actually taxes or the math is otherwise incorrect.
The state you're in matters a lot. I have a 3% flat state income tax and 6% sales tax on non-necessities (rx drugs, food, clothing, etc are exempt).
VAT is (almost always) higher than sales tax, and many states with sales taxes do not charge it on food, clothing, etc (Sweden charges 12% on these items). Income tax is always higher. Capital gains is always higher, up to double.
Anyhow, the point about rich and poor living side by side happens anywhere where there is gentrification. Some communities, too. I promise you that in some islands in greece there are beggars living side by side to people loading 50" plasmas onto donkeys
Except for the welfare and social programs it has though.
>What are you basing that on? The EU is over 50 countries with their own languages and customs and politics.
Poster was implying about the mix of classes. It's easy for a rich country like Norway or Sweden to look down upon the poor sections of the US and scoff because the poorer parts of Europe are segregated into countries (e.g. Bulgaria). In the US every state has rich and poor sections (and even cities are that way).
You seem to be mistaking our inability to come to a consensus on multiple aspects of these issues with a "fundamentalist opposition. It's unfortunate, but one of the defining aspects of American culture which has served us well over the years, our reliance on self determination and belief that hard work is rewarded, also* yields attitudes that if you aren't doing well then you aren't working hard enough or trying hard enough. Obviously neither of these views are entirely true, but confronting one affects the other, and getting people to reexamine their core beliefs is never easy.
Quite a few places in the North and East of London can be like this.
South side Chicago is bad in a lot of ways --- it's a direct result of decades of overt racial segregation, and crime is absolutely out of control --- but it isn't Flint.
A better analog would be Gary, Indiana (for people who don't know Chicagoland, Gary is a southeast suburb of Chicago).
Gary definitely seems like a good comparison the more I read about Flint.
(It's also microscopic).
Of course, as with any "no true scotsman" argument, it isn't as bad Flint in every way.
For example https://goo.gl/maps/AviSiJQBcEH2 is the office and https://goo.gl/maps/jWHBmk51nxw is the factory for the Durant-Dort Carriage company (which would eventually evolve into General Motors). And yet, on that same block theres abandoned houses and burned down lots. I lived 1 block from there while building a hardware startup (http://lava.io).
Theres a great heritage of DIY and Entrepreneurship on the streets of flint. Even today there's a pretty cool group of entrepreneurs working there to found companies and make big change.
I live in SF now, and it's interesting to draw parallels between SF circa today and Flint circa 1910. Once upon a time Flint was the Silicon Valley of our country, and now it's a wasteland long forgotten by the industry that built it. Definitely makes me wonder what some parts of the bay area might look like 100 years from now.
EDIT: I noticed a "STYLECRAFT CLOTHING" sign on that abandoned building, and found this: https://books.google.com/books?id=jNwDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA302&ots...
It's an ad from a 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics for "Furniture Repair Kit". Neat.
"Take a look at this neighborhood, and tell us what you see"
1.) A horrible slum that is a disgrace and
embarrassment to the U.S. It is an outrage that
anyone would have to live in conditions like that
in the third millennium.
2.) A quaint lower-income neighborhood.
3.) Doesn't seem that bad, not much different in
character from where I grew up.
4.) Drug-dealers and prostitutes gotta live somewhere.
5.) I see a place with home-owners and mortgage
holders, living the American Dream.
6.) We are doing a hell of a job as a society, if this
is supposedly the worst of the worst.
3, 4 currently apply (I'm from the area. Many of us in NEO have a conditions like this nearby), and if the lack of upkeep continues, is headed towards 1.
6 would qualify if you're comparing it 3rd world country poverty living standards or if you really want to be optimistic.
I attempted to zillow that area. This is what I found:
It's a sad place but there's some really cool stuff going on there between the universities.
having grown up in Youngstown Ohio I got a good first hand impression of what happens when the big jobs providers go away
> To me, there's something really heartbreaking about abandoned and decaying houses.
You're at a lost for words because of some old houses?
At least there aren't gangs roaming the capital, looting, killing, and burning for days. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328952/Sweden-riots...
I'm not saying either US or Sweden is a nightmare; just that every place has its uglier side.
If you're "out of words" for some old houses and some vegetation, you're probably missing a lot.
I reminisce when I see old buildings, even those in poor condition.
They make me think of the history of the place, and the connections I have to the past.
Also, I've lived in a lot of humble circumstances and have really liked the people I got to know, so I'm somewhat biased towards less modernized settings. I understand that there are a lot of problems in indigent places, and I don't want to minimize that at all, but I have fond memories.
That's quite the hyperbole compared to what actually happened.
IDK of anything comparable in the US in this century.
It's hyperbole only in that the area affected was small compared to the rest of Sweden, in the same way that one street is small compared to the rest of the US.
 I'm from Canada and we often like to talk about how big this country is, but in reality most of us live huddled on the US border, and where 45%+ of the US is arable, just 7% of Canada is.
People don't live in the same place for centuries, because they don't need to.
I grew up outside of Flint, and I agree. There's this weird cognitive dissonance going on there because these companies supported so many families for so long. There's a sort of one-way loyalty going on. I knew so many friends and family that worked in the auto industry for years, and were all laid off when it went downhill years back. I'm talking about lots of people with nothing more than a high school diploma (or not even) -- jobless now at 30 or 40. Yet for some reason there's still this loyalty to GM, etc... that big auto is gonna turn things around and come back to save the day.
My dad was in the Ohio state employee union. I remember going to other union's rallies and protests, especially the Middletown steel lockout: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AK_Steel_Holding_Corporation#M...
I've seen a lot of good things rot and rust (I'm not even 30!), and Flint is just another of many places.
"Disorder" could work but sounds a bit too nakedly-pejorative.
At least this Dutch boys knows about Flint through Sufjan Steven's song "Flint (For The Unemployed And Underpaid)":
It's the same outside
Driving to the riverside
I pretend to cry
Even if I cried alone
I forgot the start
Use my hands to use my heart
Even if I died alone
Even if I died alone
Since the first of June
Lost my job
And lost my room
I pretend to try
Even if I tried alone
I forgot the part
Use my hands to use my heart
Even if I died alone
Even if I died alone
Even if I died alone
Even if I died alone
Even if I died
Not since Michael Moore immortalized it. I wouldn't be surprised if many people upvoting this story were making an association with Roger & Me.
The feeling of most folks from Flint I've spoken to is that Moore made a disingenuous "documentary" about Flint not to raise awareness, but to make a buck. It's understandable he's not lauded as a hero.
I also think it's unfair to characterize the reaction of some residents of Michigan to a controversial figure at best as "Michigans backwardness".
CitizenFour - did this present the NSA side of things?
An Inconvenient Truth - did this present the fossil fuel industry's viewpoint?
GasLand -- did this present the drilling industries perspective?
Documentaries are about presenting both sides. Documentaries are about presenting truth as the filmmaker sees it - usually with the intent to draw awareness and elicit change.
Having seen it, and having read a lot of this stuff...I'm genuinely curious what the other side of the coin was/should have been in this film?
You're right about the infrastructure, they even have an airport. Somehow I doubt it will come back. At least occasionally people talk about Detroit revitalization, but you never hear that for Flint.
This lead in the water thing is shameful and makes me very sad and angry.
Dark, but when you're a kid, funny enough.
I won't waste time and energy trying to help people who really, really don't want the kind of help that might actually accomplish something.
It is true that different water supplies will have different levels of contaminants (lead, arsenic, etc) but can all be within EPA limits. Switching to a water supply with a higher level of contamination will increase exposure. The medical study seems to look at the percentage of children below 5g/dL before and after the switch. It goes from 2% to 4%. So with the old water supply, a certain percentage of children were already being exposed to elevated levels of lead. Switching to a water source with higher lead levels will push more children who are being exposed to lead through other sources to above the 5g/dL mark. However, this would seem to indicate that the primary source of lead for these children above 5g/dL is something other than the water.
Briefly: replacing only some of the pipes can cause lead levels to increase due to (1) disturbance of nearby lead pipes during replacement; (2) ongoing galvanic effects near the replacement; (3) interfaces between the utility's new lead-free lines and a customer's old lead lines, if the customer does not choose to replace at the same time the utility does.
Point (3) is especially troublesome. Even if the utility replaces all its lead pipes, things could get much worse for customers that don't follow suit right away.
For (much) more: http://investigativereportingworkshop.org/investigations/tox...
All these issues are just about pipe replacement, as distinct from higher lead levels due to pH changes or use of chloramines rather than chlorine (which was a surprise, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1817707/).
At some point it should become necessary to recognize and acknowledge that self-government has failed and must end. I'd suggest some form of a city death penalty - declare the city dead and give the locals a one-time offer of relocation assistance to an approved list of better places. The city government, and anyone who remains, are officially on their own.
We've known Flint (and many similar cities) are doomed for decades. Why do we keep them alive as zombies rather than just help the humans and let the municipalities die?
Not enough money flows to places like Flint. Michigan just barely ekes out a return on dollars remitted to the IRS; they're in the bottom quartile of benecifiaries. Meanwhile, for every $1 a Floridian pays in taxes, they receive $4.50.
The historical reason Michigan is such a low drag on the USG has a lot to do with the businesses Flint enabled.
This is such a straightforward point to make, and so easily Googlable, that I feel like you have to have known it already. Some of your acerbic comments are interesting because they bring a perspective to these discussions that I (for one) wouldn't think to consider. This was not one of those comments.
The comparison to Florida is silly. Florida gets a lot of money that a) is for the national good (naval bases) and b) follows humans around (SS/medicare). The fact that humans work in NY and retire to Florida doesn't mean that we somehow owe Flint an infinite stream of subsidies.
I do oppose the variety of unfair subsidies that Florida does get, e.g. bailouts after hurricanes predictably destroy cheaply made houses.
In any case, the specific source of federal largess to Florida is not relevant to my main point. Namely, help the humans rather than the municipality.
In much the same way, if it were a for-profit corporation that was failing horribly, I'd suggest giving the former human workers limited assistance designed to get them back into the workforce and letting the corporation die. That would be true even if other corporations get corporate welfare (which I also oppose).
Since you seem to favor the municipality over the humans, one might ask why?
To avoid status quo bias, lets ask why we shouldn't shift other programs to favor municipalities over humans, e.g. social security goes to the state where work was performed rather than the individual human who did the work?
Is it reasonable to simply pick everyone up and move them? That seems at least plausible, though I'd expect the cost to still fall on the Federal government.
Same goes for Florida, for whatever it's worth.
"From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." as it were.
Yeah, I'm not sure the math is simple enough to say that definitively. People from those states are disproportionately represented in the military, for example, and there's no way to add "deaths in overseas wars" to help balance the books.
There's also a tendency to count infrastructure projects for states as being for those states. But good highways through the Midwest, for example, are also used for shipping goods coast-to-coast. The locals in Podunk, WY certainly wouldn't choose a superhighway as their first infrastructure project if they were handed 10 million dollars.
Its pretty well studied:
> People from those states are disproportionately represented in the military, for example, and there's no way to add "deaths in overseas wars" to help balance the books.
Who weren't drafted, and voluntarily went.
> There's also a tendency to count infrastructure projects for states as being for those states. But good highways through the Midwest, for example, are also used for shipping goods coast-to-coast. The locals in Podunk, WY certainly wouldn't choose a superhighway as their first infrastructure project if they were handed 10 million dollars.
Goods can be delivered to New York and California far more efficiently by water than over the continental US. Flyover country influence continues to wane as citizens continue to migrate to major urban cores.
[edit to add link]
To be fair, The State of Michigan took complete control of Flint (through the "Emergency Manager" law). The State of Michigan made the decision to poison Flint's water, not Flint itself.
It's not great for manufacturing. But it's not the worst place to do so.
There is a lowest common denominator of environmental protection in the US that is higher than most of the other places manufacturers would consider new plants.
So it's either "have no money and get poisoned by lead in the water pipes" or "have money and get poisoned by the pollution of the factories?"
But that's what most people mean/imply when they say Flint is "set up for manufacturing".
I don't disagree with you that there are troubled towns and cities but it seems really difficult to decide when it's beyond salvage or even what that means.
Even now the state is only offering:
"has also offered more than $10 million in financial assistance to pay for a temporary switch into the Detroit system while the connection to Lake Huron is being prepared."
1. Why did the state even let this happen?
2. Why is the state only offering "financial aid" when it be paying for the switch - since the state failed Flint when it permitted the use of Flint River water in the first place?
3. Why did the citizens have to protest at all? Why wasn't the state proactively step in?
4. Why isn't the state providing emergency water supplies immediately?
These are Republican "values" at work.
Multiple state and local departments approved of the quality. You might as well ask: why did Democrats and Obama let this happen?
I would rather ask why right-to-lifers let this happen.
Can you boil lead out of water, or does it just become more concentrated?
It's hard to tell from the article, but the reference to boiling water might have been in response to the other issue mentioned, trihalomethanes in the water. As dissolved gases, boiling should help drive them out.
(side note: a trihalomethane is more commonly referred to as a haloform, which is the family chloroform comes from)
Yeah, but why would a water with slightly acidic pH be a major problem for health anyway? Numerous mineral waters sold on the market at not at pH 7 in the first place.
Definitely would prefer the tooth decay if we have to pick.
That means that concentration of hydronium [H3O+] ion multiplied by the concentration of hydroxide [OH-] ion is equal to the constant. In pure water, there are no other ions to change the balance, so you get 2 H2O <-> H3O+ + OH-, and each concentration is the square root of the dissociation constant.
So 10^-7 mol/L H3O+ and 10^-7 mol/L OH-. The abbreviation "pH" stands for "power hydrogen", and is the negative log10 of the H3O+ concentration. 10^-7 mol/L H3O+ is pH 7, which is neutral. There is also a lesser-known term pOH, which is pretty much pOH + pH = 14 under normal conditions.
But that water doesn't stay perfectly neutral for long. CO2 from the atmosphere dissolves into it, using
CO2(g) <-> CO2(aq) K_CO2 = 2.0e-3, P_CO2 = 3.6e-4
CO2(aq) + H2O(l) <-> H2CO3(aq) K = 1.3e-3
H2CO3(aq) + H2O(l) <-> H3O+(aq) + HCO3-(aq) Ka1 = 2.0e-4
HCO3-(aq) + H2O(l) <-> H3O+(aq) + CO3--(aq) Ka2 = 4.7e-11
Some natural groundwater contains other dissolved minerals, including carbonates (limestone is CaCO3), which pushes the CO2 equilibrium in the other direction, making water more basic (higher pH).
> Heating or boiling your water will not remove lead. Because some of the water evaporates during the boiling process, the lead concentration of the water can actually increase slightly as the water is boiled.
It seems that you can reduce the levels of the aforementioned trihalomethane compounds by boiling though.
Here's what WHO say:
> Several chelating agents are effective in lead excretion, but the chelator of choice depends on the blood lead concentration, the patient’s symptoms and the environmental lead burden. Symptomatic patients should be hospitalized and chelation therapy with Edetate Calcium Disodium (CaNa2EDTA). CaNa2EDTA is an intravenous formulation that has been shown to be effective with British AntiLewisite (BAL, Dimercaprol) for removal of lead in patients with encephalopathy. Edetate calcium disodium, used alone, may aggravate symptoms in patients with very high blood lead levels. When clinical symptoms consistent with lead poisoning or when blood lead levels are greater than 70 micrograms/deciliter, it is recommended that edetate calcium disodium be used in conjunction with dimercaprol.24 British-Anti-Lewisite (BAL) or dimercaprol is a small molecule drug which will cross into cells and may prevent the worsening of clinical and biochemical status on the first day of EDTA therapy.25 Oral chelating agents are available for treatment of lead poisoned patients who have elevated blood lead concentrations and asymptomatic. In the Unites States, 2,3 Dimercaptosuccinic Acid (DMSA, Succimer) is the drug most commonly used. Other oral agents that may be used are DMPS (Unithiol) and penicillamine.
Here's what CDC say about the pharmacology of chelating agents:
Or it is the provision of basic information to avoid "not knowing about what you don't know". Knowing that this option might exist, you can ask medical professionals about it.
And yet they never took care of their water supply? The one state with so much fresh water has little regulation on keeping water protected.
I keep wondering why its been prophecied that the world in the end will wage war over water, not oil. And now I am beginning to understand.
Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are not especially polluted. The little inland lakes vary, but they end up having a lot of trouble with residential inputs (fertilizer runoff and (historically) sewage).
Americans that cry about how the system "doesn't work" really don't have a clue about how this would turn out in other countries.
Full disclosure: my wife works as a reporter Michigan Radio, but generally doesn't cover Flint.
It all looks like a game between Emergency Managers appointed by the governor to see who can save the most money fastest.
Silicon Valley also has a bunch of top-shelf universities nearby, which are a massive boost to local economies. The University of Michigan similarly boosts Ann Arbor's economy.
It's also not direct pollution per se, it's that the river is so polluted that it's crazy acidic and it's corroding lead out of the pipes. A compounding factor is that it's got all kinds of funky bacteria stuff going on, which can also accelerate the corrosion process.
A counterpoint might be that the companies with a vested interest in privitising water supplies have lobbied to choke out the public systems of funding.
Perhaps instead of cutting deplorable tax breaks for big business, it would be more prudent to augment the public funds to prevent your citizens from getting lead poisoning?
In the context of Flint, this argument ends up a bit moot; there's no money, anywhere. Private, public, doesn't matter, the city can't sustain itself as it is. Flint has way more infrastructure than it can support. And "evaporative cooling" is in full effect; anyone who can leave, is leaving or more likely has left. As I live in the Ann Arbor area, I can name names. Flint is a popular place to be from.
A State of Emergency and the resulting external emergency assistance is the only way out of this mess for Flint, regardless. This is especially important if the recent theories about how dangerous lead poisoning is are true, with the suggestions that the majority of the cause of the crime wave in the 60s and 70s may have been due to leaded gasoline. Leading up the next generation of Flint residents could make things even harder for the city for the next 30-50 years, and Flint really doesn't need that.
It's pretty common for water supply to be treated as a utility, with municipal monopolies provided - like cable or electricity.
Regardless, my understanding is that Flint has no money, neither the individual constituents nor the city itself. Literally no one can pay to replace these old pipes. IMHO, the reason they switched water supplies in the first place was because they couldn't afford the rising rates from their previous water source.
Adding an anti-corrosive agent might have helped, but could introduce other issues (I don't know enough to know how much they would need to add and if it would be safe).
Assuming the article's figures of a 50 year lifespan and $1.5 billion replacement cost , that works out to an additional $306 million of damage from this whole fiasco.
The whole "emergency manager" thing is ridiculous and this only underscores the problem. It's absurd from both a health and a financial standpoint.
Damage from Detroit's economic implosion keeps rolling downhill.
The lifespan of drinking water system infrastructure is anywhere from 50-100 years -- far to long to pay as you go or accumulate money to pay for repairs later. The way you fix infrastructure is with bonds, which the public owned entity has a major advantage in doing, as it has a tax base to secure the bond as well as tax exempt status.
The other infrastructure issue is that older water & sewer systems were designed for the primarily urban needs of 100 years ago. Because of the growth in suburban communities, you have a patchwork of infrastructure with varying levels of coordination between them.
Funding issues become more difficult as a service base shrinks. This particular situation is clearly a bad engineering decision exacerbated by the city being broke. If an engineer signed off on it, he should lose his PE. If some political hack signed off on it, they need to be fired or charged with negligence.
Bonds for something like are typically secured by revenue. When they issue a revenue bond, they need to have the ability to raise the rates to cover the bond. Current rates only matter if they are too high.
The situation in a place like Flint or Detroit is complicated by the fact that the municipality is depopulating, and they cannot afford the infrastructure built for a few million people that now serves far fewer. In any case, a private entity doesn't have a magical ability to fix this stuff. A private company would just buy the future cash flows at a discount and farm the resource for as long as possible.
They have little practical ability to raise rates, because raising water rates is politically untenable in most places.