Sunday, July 20, 2014

Give Them Time and They'll Try to Privatize The Air That We Breathe Too . . .

Charlie Pierce wonders what price the country's soul will pay if we allow the oligarchs and the moneyed elites to privatize a basic necessity of human life and transform it in to a Wall Street commodity:

It is now past cliche to say that you never thought you'd have to relitigate, say, birth control, or child labor, but 30 years of conservative dominance leavened with just a touch here and there of centrist Democratic control, three decades of bad ideas prevailing even when they don't necessarily win - all of this should have taught us one thing: there was nothing that was produced by a century of progressive policy that was considered to be settled by the people trying to unravel it. (This includes Social Security, which, because of its inherent power, was able to hold off both Republican privatizers and Democratic "reformers," at least for now.)
But, seriously, water?
We are litigating whether citizens have a right to water?
The whole thing sounds preposterous. But, since last spring, some 15,000 Detroit residents, living under a special manager because Governor Rick Snyder decided that democracy was too damn expensive, have had their access to water denied. Most of them were in arrears on their water bills; the cutoff for the cutoff was two months or $150 behind, which is ridiculously low, especially in a city with 23 percent unemployment and with 38 percent of people living below the poverty line. The shutoffs are estimated to be affecting 100,000 people in one way or another.
But the special manager, a jumped-up pol named Kevyn Orr, is seen by most people here as playing a longer game than just knuckling the city's poor. With the city in bankruptcy, a lot of the people in Detroit are figuring that Orr is trying to get rid of the $5.7 billion in water department debt as a prelude to privatizing the water supply for the city. And, given our experience with private prisons, doesn't that fill you with optimism?
Still, though, water?

The Gadfly has nothing else to add to Brother Pierce's plaintive imploration.  It stands of it's own accord.


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