Bernie Sanders

Sanders and Clinton Say Bigger Government Is the Answer to Flint's Water Crisis

Liberals don't trust corporations to run Flint's water system. But they should.



Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both sharply criticized state and local government officials for mismanaging Flint's water supply while sneering at the idea that privatization could possibly be the answer. 

In doing so, the Democratic presidential contenders did a disservice to the people of Flint who hosted the candidates for yet another debate on Sunday night. 

Clinton and Sanders both called on Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to resign for his role in the crisis. 

"The governor should resign or be recalled," said Clinton. "We should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that." 

Clinton said the her election to the presidency would usher in an era of greater government transparency, accountability, and regulation that would prevent something like the Flint water crisis from happening again. She also called on the federal government to send aid to Flint, even though the state could raise sufficient funds if it ended some of its more costly—and pointless—PR stunt campaigns. 

Sanders, too, was critical of government's failures with respect to Flint. "You are paying three ]times more for poisoned water than I am paying for clean water," said Sanders. 

Their criticisms of government were spot-on: Flint's water crisis, in fact, is the result of foolish government-planned economic stimulus, compounded by pure mismanagement and bad incentives. And when push came to shove, the state put its own bureaucrats' needs well before the needs of its citizens. 

But when debate host Anderson Cooper suggested that Flint's situation might be an indictment of government planning—and implied that the private sector could do better—Sanders mocked him. 

"Maybe we should let Wall Street run Flint," Sanders suggested, oozing sarcasm. "We can trust them, I'm sure." 

Sanders added: "I will trust the people to create a government that works for them, rather than Wall Street or corporate America." 

These remarks show the extreme limitations of his corporations-are-always-evil shtick. Corporations did not poison Flint, but they are making millions of bottles of water available to its people. Corporations were not responsible for providing water to Flint—though they provide water to countless other municipalities, most of which happily renew their contracts year after year. Corporations did not poison Flint, but if they had, they would have been sued. They could have been forced to make Flint whole again. 

Sanders, and to a lesser extent Clinton, are so committed to a left-wing view of how resources should be allocated and managed that they can't even comprehend the idea that some force other than government might be better equipped to provide a service. Sanders finds the very idea deserving of mockery. 

This is a tremendous failure of imagination on their parts, and betrays their reflexive hostility toward the idea that free people are capable of resolving each other's problems—to mutual benefit—when government gets out of the way. My colleague Shikha Dalmia has suggested that the best thing for the people of Flint might be allowing private interest to buy them out of their property and evacuate them to greener pastures. But it sure sounds like Clinton and Sanders won't appreciate that solution, since it doesn't require vigorous action from the state. 

NEXT: Michael Moore Points Out Futility of Flint Voting Democrat For Almost A Century

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  1. Water is wet…no pun intended.

    1. As water is wet, so Flint seems to be soaked in poverty. Thus, I believe both government-supplied and corporation supplied water are going to present the same problems. That is, since the people have little money and therefore no power, they are not going to get clean water, which costs something (plus profit and/or graft), except possibly by accident. In this case there is no reason to expect a private business to behave better than a government. Meanwhile, those Flintites who can afford it had better buy their water in those endless little plastic bottles — in that case, the almighty Market will provide.

  2. Problems caused by central planning requires more central planning

    1. But what about the problems required by *that* central planning?

      1. More central planning?

        1. No, no, no. If it fails again we’ve been sabotaged. The new plan is gulags for the wreckers.

          Then more central planning.

          1. I like the way you think!

            *desperately hopes not to get purged*

            1. *pats you on shoulder and says “Don’t worry comrade”

              Then gives signal to guard to haul you away.

              “This one asks too many questions.”

              1. *gunshot echoes across the lonely landscape*

      2. there will not be problems. Just need the right people in charge

    2. Planning caused by problems requires more problems. Holy Fuck, you got that one bass ackwards.

  3. Nancy Reagan is dead, so, according to my calculations, Flint’s water should cure cancer now.

    1. Drink enough and I guarantee you won’t have to worry about cancer.

    2. I’d be fucking selling Flintwater along with Flintstone chewable vitamins for its amazing mineral variety.

  4. “You are paying three times more for poisoned water than I am paying for clean water,” said Sanders.

    Those Jews, always bragging about their superior deal making.

    1. But they never came up with Flinstein chewable vitamins. They lost their way those wandering Jews.

  5. Flint’s water is worse than aborted Hitler cankles with cancer.

    Also Trump.

    1. Hitler’s corpse had a higher lead content than Nancy Reagan’s. That is why you should vote for Hillary.

      1. With her coughing fit problems, I have some doubts.…..17559.html

    2. Hitler-cankle cancer’s only known cure is cannabis.

    3. aborted Hitler cankles

      Not the best band name ever.

  6. I think it is becoming obvious sanders is really a central committee top down hard socialist

    1. At least he doesn’t have cankles.

      Even though I think Birkenstock and cankles are considered sexy among commies.

    2. Obviously. When you mock any suggestion that the free market should provide services you are making a rather transparent statement that all goods and services should be provided by the state. He isn’t a hard socialist. He is closer to a hard communist.

  7. I will trust the people to create a government that works for them, rather than Wall Street or corporate America.

    1. They did that, so how is that possibly a solution when it’s already in place?

    2. Bernie can’t comprehend anything voluntary. It’s over his head that if anyone gets water elsewhere they are “choosing” for themselves.

    1. Bernie can’t comprehend anything voluntary.

      He volunteers your paycheck and possessions to be government controlled. He volunteers more government to fix what the current inadequate government can’t fix, and volunteers the corporations’ guilty profits to his control.

      He’s so volunteery ….

      *dons sunglasses*

      …. he may as well be from Tennessee.

  8. “You are paying three times more for poisoned water than I am paying for clean water,”

    So he recognizes that there are negative effects when you have unaccountable bureaucrats deciding on how much things cost, and he supports a system where individual consumers are free to decide whether or not the price they are being asked to pay is worth the goods they are receiving, and a system that supports freedom for competing entities to come in and offer a better price?


  9. You people disgust me.

    Here’s Robby back after being forced to go on “vacation” about the time of the Bowdoin College Mini-Sombrero Tequila Party Event and not a damn one of you has the decency to ask him how his head’s doing, is he still dehydrated from the upchucking, if he ever found his pants, does he think he’ll ever drink tequila again, does he still have the tiny sombrero, nothing? For shame, I expected better of you.

    1. Cultyural appropriation leaves one hell of a white guilt hangover. Worse than the tequila.

  10. Republicans Hitler-cankled my waters!

    1. Even worse! Republicans Hipster-cankled the purity of your essence.

      1. Listen, Mandrake, I know Bernie isn’t a Communist because I’ve seen him drink water.

        1. “Uh, Jack, Jack, listen… tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first… become… well, develop this theory?”

          “Well, I, uh… I… I… first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.”

          1. Now I want to re-watch that movie for the 100th time, partially just to see George C. Scott doing a somersault.

          2. Sellers was brilliant in that scene.

            1. Sellers was brilliant.

        2. That’s Rubio.

      2. No! Not my PoE!

  11. And this is coming from the most libertarian candidate in the 2016 race! Boy, we are really screwed.

    1. But he’s gonna end cocktail-inequality, so the writers won’t have to give us more of that crap!

      1. Is he going to do this by lengthening cocks, or by shortening tails?

  12. “””Maybe we should let Wall Street run Flint,” Sanders suggested, oozing sarcasm. “We can trust them, I’m sure.”””

    For something so untrustworthy, its weird how billions of dollars of state-employee-pension-money keep being shoveled at “wall st” … as well as over-sized and consistent total-investment-returns demanded to meet their overblown benefits promises.

    For something that sneers at wall-st, government sure has an incestuous lust for getting inside its pants.

    1. Hey now, Bernie Sanders is a man of unparalleled integrity: he would be happy to steal the money directly out of your pocket to pay for his own comfortable retirement rather than let it pass through the hands of the money changers first.

      1. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

        1. These days, as things stand, it’s more like ‘I’ll gladly pay you next month (maybe) for a hamburger today; meaning right now.’

          1. Actually, now that I think of it before heading off to bed, ‘I’ll gladly pay you next month (maybe) for a double cheeseburger with the works today; meaning right now.’

    2. no no no, water’s too important. I only trust the geniuses behind

  13. Hawk the Slayer: Great swords and sorcery movie, or the greatest swords and sorcery movie?

    1. Don’t forget the amazing soundtrack.

      Okay, sounds a bit like War of the Worlds in places, but still awesome.

    1. That’s a HELLUVAN awesome cat.

  14. *Dips finger in pool on the floor and presses it lightly to tip of tongue*
    That wasn’t sarcasm The Bern was oozing.

  15. “…Clinton and Sanders both called on Michigan’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder to resign for his role in the crisis.
    “The governor should resign or be recalled,” said Clinton. “We should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that.”…

    The guy behind the curtain over there? Who? I don’t see no guy behind a curtain over there.

  16. Neither one is the smartest peri in the room. Actual idiots with no sense of history

  17. OT:

    “Federal government seeks project manager for Burning Man?read the job description before applying”
    “The number-one quality we’re looking for in this position is the ability to work with all different kinds of people,” Evenson said. “This person is going to deal with everyone from people who live in rural communities to international event planners. The event builds an airport so you need to deal with a lot of federal agencies. The FAA is involved, for example.”…..787695.php

    Pretty sure they mean the person is going to need the ability to tell all different kinds of people that they can’t do that.

  18. if the democrats think the private sector is so awful, it seems odd that they want the little people to be gainfully employed within it at all really.

    1. Consistency was never the strong point of any politician.

    2. Not everyone is fit for the grueling 10-4:32 slog of a government job. Did you know they have to work on Thursdays and Fridays? No sir, we all should be thankful there are people out there willing to sacrifice so much for the public good and recieve so little in return.

  19. I swear to Saint Timberlake, if these two geriatrics say the words “middle class” one more time I’m going to end it all. It was like having a broken See n’ Say. With more annoying voices.

  20. cash right now… Get more time with your family by doing j0bs that only require for you to have a computer and an internet access and you can have that at your home. Start bringing up to $8894 a month. I’ve started this j0b and I’ve never been happier and now I am sharing it with you, so you can try it too. You can check it out…..


  21. Charlie LeDuff posted a video about Flint water and I quote an exterpt of his text:“Some candidates will promise big government. Some will promise small government. But can they deliver an effective government?”

  22. Not so fast! Looking over Reason’s Love Canal, The Truth Seeps Out, government then gulped a mere 32% of GDP which is now up closer to 36% and nobody says anything bad about the Love Canal anymore. Maybe the Niagara Falls Board of Education ought to take possession of the Flint water works and we let government gulp down another 4% of GDP, and maybe this Flint thing will also go away like Bernie and whatzername say.

  23. Someone should tell Bernie that Europe has many privatized water companies.

    1. Read the article again. It complains, not of privatizing, but of government supervision — the exact opposite. You folks don’t know what to criticize next, so long as you can hate Bernie.

  24. I love how the governor of Michigan must resign from mistakes made on his watch, but some other executives don’t have to resign from mistakes on their watch. Its like there is some factor other than simply bad management that is in play, I can’t figure it out.

  25. I would ask bernie if the people wanted to privatize their water supply, then would he still trust them.

  26. Yes, we surely can trust corporations to supply pure water.

    Similarly, we can trust corporations to supply pure food, so we should eliminate government food inspection.

    And surely we can trust corporations to provide good pharmaceuticals, so let’s eliminate federal drug inspections.

    And, we can trust everyone not to be criminal, so eliminate the police.

    The article is the typical anarchy nonsense from this site. If you believe anything on this site, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

    1. Blow me?

    2. Explain how ebay and the silk road exist without government regulation?

  27. Flint will be the democrats next Detroit. They are already talking about more than $200 billion dollars just for Flint. Since this is government work, multiply that by 5. So…figure a trillion dollars over what, 10 years? 15? to halfway sort of maybe fix the water of a city of 100,000 (and dropping about 1%/year) or about $10,000 for each man woman and child. And by the way ZERO actual work has so much as even started and it could be YEARS before any work does. If they do what they normally do there won’t BE anyone in Flint and they wont have to fix it. But of course by then all the money will have been spent.

  28. RE: Sanders and Clinton Say Bigger Government Is the Answer to Flint’s Water Crisis

    Comrade Sanders and Hitlery are correct in their assessment.
    Bigger government always leads to improved lives for the little people.
    Just ask anyone from Cuba or North Korea.

  29. “The governor should resign or be recalled,” said Clinton. “We should support the efforts of citizens attempting to achieve that.”

    This is super rich everything considered.

  30. Our Gov is to big now. We need to retire about 20% of them.

  31. Clinton said the her election to the presidency would usher in an era of greater government transparency, accountability, and regulation

    2 jokes and 1 truth. Much better average than usual.

  32. Typical government failures require bigger government intervention. Much like how they were able to create bigger banks to fail.

  33. You’re getting ?120 worth of bonuses for just a E fraction of that price. Everything to get you started in learning a proven system for accelerating sj your exam success. So if that’s what you want to do, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for….


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