Slaughter of the innocents

Rick Snyder, the Republican governor of Michigan, set the Flint water crisis in motion by implementing his deeply-felt beliefs (I infer from his behavior, always the best evidence) that spending tax money, or exercising government regulatory power, for the benefit of poor people–especially poor black people who probably vote wrong if you let them grow up–is a moral offense.

He is also a very strong (not the strongest/rape-and-incest) abortion opponent, and we don’t have to infer, because he’s on the record about that. It turns out he and his gang of vicious, reckless, subordinates committed the biggest mass abortion episode in US history; lead in Flint’s water not only damaged thousands of little kids for life, but killed hundreds in utero.

Nice, Rick.

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

6 thoughts on “Slaughter of the innocents”

  1. Perhaps, but Kevin Drum, who has been on the lead-beat longer than most, is skeptical.* He thinks the timing is wrong and the estimated effect too big, and wonders why fertility in Flint responded then but not in earlier years when lead content was falling.

    *I think it fair to consider him one of the founding fathers with regard to this issue, perhaps a lead-beat dad.

      1. Whether this particular effect was caused by lead in the water, there is no denying that the lead in the water was the result of policies instituted by "evil Republicans", against the will of the voters of Flint.

      2. There are plenty of things to blame on evil Republicans without diluting the evidence of their evil by including things that are not plainly their fault. If you really hate them, don't give them the easy out of being able to say "See! They make shit up too!"

  2. Drum wraps up his analysis:

    I’m not saying this research is wrong. There really is a lot of noise here, which makes analysis difficult. And there does seem to be a drop in fertility. So the authors might be onto something. But I’d take it with a grain of salt until someone else confirms it using an independent methodology.

    So, this is a plausible theory. It is not "making shit up".

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