The cost of liberalism: Detroit’s water war

DetroitBy John Ruberry

Over the last few days there have been several protests, many of them attended out-of-towners, by leftist groups, such as National Nurses United, against the shut off of water to delinquent waters by city-owned Detroit Water and Sewerage.

Last July of course Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Decades of mismanagment by liberal mayors, especially race-baiter Coleman Young, who I believe was the worst mayor in American history, transformed what was the once the wealthiest large city in America into the poorest.

About half of Detroit Water and Sewerage’s 170,000 residential accounts are delinquent. Poverty plays into this problem, but only partly, as the left-leaning Detroit Free Press points out:

Water department officials say the collection efforts are necessary because the department has a glut of bad debt caused by nonpaying customers. They say many Detroit customers can afford to pay the bills but have become accustomed to putting off or ignoring the bills without fear of shutoff.

John "Lee" Ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry

That’s the heart of this issue. Two generations of paternalistic progressive government has fostered the belief in America’s former Motor City that no matter what, the water will flow.

And that message resonates among Detroit’s better-off Detroiters, such as steelworker Eric Williams.

Again from the Free Press:

“We owe $300. I’ve got that right now. I can pay that now,” said Williams. “$300? That’s not enough to shut off my water. This is water. You don’t do nothing without water.”

Water department spokeswoman Garner, who was at the site because she was accompanying media, explained that city records showed a shutoff notice was sent to the house.

“You’re not struggling. You just got off work. You said you could pay it right now,” Garner told Williams. And she said the water department is trying to stress to homeowners that unpaid bills can’t languish indefinitely, as once was the case. Williams ended up paying the bill online, and his water was later restored.

It’s not so easy for other Detroit residents, who are unable to to turn on the faucet for a drink of tap water, shower, or flush their toilets.

Lake Huron in Michigan
Lake Huron in Michigan

But leftist protesters, who claim that “Water is a human right,” neglect to mention that there are ways to get the spigots turned back on for those in need that are “just a phone call away,” Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr says.

The libs are attempting to make bring irony into the mix, bellowing that Detroit sits near the world’s largest supply of fresh water–the Great Lakes. Three hundred miles west of Detroit, I am writing this post drinking coffee made with Great Lakes water. That water was treated and pumped to my home. When that coffee makes it way through my body it will be flushed away and treated again. There is a cost for that service, which I pay.

Water is not free. And liberalism incurs costs– very expensive ones.

John Ruberry blogs at Marathon Pundit.