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Flint, Michigan: the water was yellow!

The Water Was Yellow? (Flint, Michigan)After I made a post last week, I saw a YouTube “news” show that was discussing the Flint, Michigan water crisis and saw during the segment that the water was yellow. The water was a disgusting yellow color! If this is true, then the state government should have done something about it, whether it believed the water was toxic or not. Water is not supposed to be yellow like that.

I also saw later that this water crisis is actually the tip of the iceberg; there are multiple cities with crumbling infrastructure, due to cost cutting initiatives during the last few years.

This is another reminder that cost cutting without thinking about the long-term ramifications is a recipe for disaster. I guess too many cities tried to take on the business mindset, thinking the business way is the right way. Being fiscally prudent is good but to go so far that you are basically cutting corners is not good. And I suspect too many businesses go too far in the drive to provide values to their shareholders (and not to the general community). And now we have cities doing the same.

In that same YouTube “news”, the narrator said that the governor, Rick Scott, gave businesses $2.7 billion in tax cuts (I think I have the number right) and the net end effect was a reduction in revenues. Jobs didn’t increase enough (if it did at all) to offset this reduction, so the city/state had to cut costs. Enmeshed with this story line is the fact that Flint was in some kind of fiscal straits, maybe even bankrupt, so it had a manager to oversee the city. The combination of reduced revenues from a tax give away to businesses and Flint’s fiscal problems led to cost cutting in the water area. The city (or state) cut water costs on their end and the citizens shelled out $900 million in additional water costs to bring in clean water.

By the way, Rick Scott used to be an accountant. So he is going to be a walking, talking financial person looking at just the bottom line (or thinking shareholder value) instead of looking at the big picture. Not all financial types will have tunnel vision focused on cost cutting but there are enough of them out there to give finance a bad name. They have been trained to think like that.

Okay, a point about getting “news” from YouTube. I typically don’t like to rely on YouTube for news or even for opinion; I prefer reading known sources. The reason being is that I notice that when I see something on TV or on YouTube, the “news” is way more emotionally affecting than when I read the news. The first time I noticed that effect was in the early 2000’s during the run up to the Iraq invasion. When I watched Bush on TV explaining why we should invade Iraq, Bush appeared convincing. But when I would read the newspapers and magazine to gather more facts and data, I found that I couldn’t find any good support, other than a constantly shifting set of reasons. I learned that I could get emotionally caught up in the TV sales. TV could really get you to shut down your brain.

I find YouTube to have the same kind of effect, except these “news” are not really well-known news channel, so the tone tends to be more inflammatory. Not a place where I want to go. I did read in the papers that the water smelled and appeared dirty so I trust the fact that the water was suspect. But whether it was that violent yellow color…

Seeing it like that is really disturbing.

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