Monday, February 8, 2016

OBAMA-CLINTONOMICS AND SOARING POVERTY IN AMERICA: Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

Report: Low-income households are low priority in US budget

By Brad Dixon
6 February 2016
According to a January 27 report by the Center on Budget Policy Priorities (CBPP), the 2016 appropriations legislation enacted by Congress in December includes funding increases for non-defense programs, but the increases for social programs that benefit low or moderate income households are substantially smaller than in other areas.

Eleven subcommittees are in charge of allocating funding to non-defense programs. Two subcommittees handle the appropriations: (1) the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education; and (2) the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

These two subcommittees handle more than 80 percent of the appropriations for programs that benefit low-income groups, but saw a mere 3.6 percent growth in funding, less than seven of the other subcommittees.

By contrast, the nine other subcommittees saw increases averaging 6.9 percent.



As a result, social programs benefiting low-income households continue to lack adequate funding in the midst of growing economic inequality, high rates of unemployment and stagnant or declining wages.

For example, due to cuts to HUD funding, only about 25 percent of eligible families receive low-income rental assistance. As a result of the sequestration budgetary measures implemented in 2011, state and local housing agencies cut the number of families receiving housing vouchers by about 100,000. While roughly a third of these were restored between 2014 and 2015, the final appropriations package only managed to restore a further 8,000 vouchers (earmarked for homeless veterans).

And while the president requested $295 million to fund 25,000 new housing units for people with disabilities, the final bill only included $38 million aimed at reducing youth homelessness.
The low levels of funding appropriated to the Departments of Labor, Education and HHS means that funding for education for disadvantaged students was increased by only 3.1 percent (leaving the program at 10 percent below its funding level in 2010), while grants for job training grew by a mere 3.3 percent (18 percent below the 2010 figure).

Dramatic budget cuts were imposed by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which has governed appropriations for the past five years and placed caps on funding through 2021. It also imposed a “sequestration” mechanism that substantially lowered caps in the event that legislators failed to agree on deficit-reduction measures.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, enacted by Congress in December, raised the appropriation caps set by the BCA for 2016 and 2017. The 2015 Act also increased appropriations for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO), which is used to pay for the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan and is funded outside of the BCA caps.

The structure and priorities of the latest budget reflect the irrationality of the capitalist system. While social infrastructure crumbles in the US—seen most vividly in the widespread lead toxicity in the drinking water of Flint and other American cities—and vast sections of the population face poverty, homelessness and unemployment, the ruling class spends astounding sums on weapons and other means of destruction to support its endless wars abroad, maintain the unchallenged superiority of its armed forces, and conduct military provocations that threaten the outbreak of nuclear war.

OBAMA TELLS INVADING ILLEGALS: "The white folk are easy to loot. Just call it "Hope & Change" - Look what I did for my crony banksters!"

Another Surge of Illegal Immigrants along the Southwest Border: Is This the Obama Administration's New Normal?
Statement of Jessica Vaughan
House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, February 4, 2016

Video and transcript:

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Immigration Policy Debate Questions
CIS Video, February 2016

Details: All too often the video questions approved by presidential debate moderators fail to address immigration from the perspective of the American people. Tough immigration topics get ignored and the same tired questions get repeated. The video questions below are presented by the Center for Immigration Studies with the hope that they will raise issues not yet adequately addressed by the 2016 presidential candidates.

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Sanctuary Cities, Counties, and States: Five New Sanctuaries in Kentucky
By Bryan Griffith, Jessica Vaughan, and Marguerite Telford
CIS Map, January 31, 2016

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The Demographic, Economic, and Fiscal Impact of Immigration
By Steven Camarota
CIS Presentation, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: Below is a PowerPoint presentation I used at an event in New York City last week organized by Impact New York. The presentation deals with the demographic, economic, and fiscal impact of immigration. As I get a lot of questions about these topics, I though this PowerPoint might be a useful overview. Anyone who wishes to do so may download it and distribute it, with attribution.


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Obama, Immigration, and 'Electoral Caudillismo'
By Mark Krikorian
Inter American-Dialogue, February 3, 2016

Excerpt: At issue is not the president's authority to set priorities for deportation. It's not likely he will deport many of the people in question anyway; deportations from the interior have dropped by more than two-thirds since 2011. And the much-lamented "raids" on Central American families have resulted in a mere 77 removals so far.

Rather, the key issue is whether the Constitution's requirement that a president "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" has any meaning, or whether he can simply ignore laws he dislikes. This will be important for U.S. immigration policy, of course. If the Supreme Court were to back Obama, future immigration decisions would become much more integrated into foreign policy, with the president having the freedom to admit (through something called "parole") or legalize essentially anyone he wants, without the need to consult the people's elected representatives.

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The Ideological Divide on Immigration: Prevention vs. Protection
By Jerry Kammer
CIS Blog, February 7, 2016

Excerpt: I've been writing about border issues for 30 years. I don't think I've ever seen a clearer demonstration of the ideological chasm between Republicans and Democrats on border issues than Thursday's House immigration subcommittee hearing on the surge of Central Americans across the Southwest border.

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Visa Interviews Finally Required for Jamaican H-2A Guestworkers
By David North
CIS Blog, February 5, 2016

Excerpt: The screening before they got on the plane (in Jamaica) started with the Caribbean version of a Tammany Hall process. For years, and maybe still, newcomers to the H-2A program had to get the approval of their members of parliament before they could be interviewed by the representatives of the employers. Returning workers who had pleased their U.S. employers did not go through that routine.

Yesterday the Departments of Homeland Security and State announced that from now on:Certain Caribbean residents seeking to come to the United States as H-2A agricultural workers will be required to have both a valid passport and a visa.
. . .
Although the new regulation nominally applies to many of the Caribbean islands, including those run by the French and the Dutch, the real impact will be on Jamaican workers. I have been told that the East Coast apple industry fought the change tooth and nail.

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By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 5, 2016

Excerpt: The deeply disturbing series of events leading to lead contamination of public water sources in Flint, Mich., has been a major source of news in recent weeks.

The story took an odd turn when it was raised by Maria Hinojosa, NPR voice and host of the MSNBC show "Latino USA". Hinojosa alleged that illegal aliens in Flint were not availing themselves of untainted water resources available to them because they were not opening the door, in fear of raids by federal agents. I know of no empirical data to support the assertion. She apparently believes the basis for this is the recent announcement by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson that there would be targeted operations against aliens who have been ordered deported, but refused to report for removal, choosing instead to abscond.

But linking such operations to nationwide fear is absurd, given both their limited scope and the results to date: 121 apprehensions total, out of a potential of tens of thousands, even among the limited announced targets and many of those immediately received stays of removal from the Board of Immigration Appeals. There is every reason to think, in fact, that the so-called raids were a political exercise (see here and here ). To suggest a panic has ensued among the 11 or 12 million aliens illegally present as the result of these raids is either to seriously underestimate their intellect and political savvy, or to engage in bombast and bloviation sufficient to fill a zeppelin, or both.

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"Mexico Is a Safe Place"
By Kausha Luna
CIS Blog, February 4, 2016

Excerpt: During her visit to Arizona on Wednesday, Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Mexico is a safe place.

Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu said, "All countries issue [travel] warnings...These alerts reflect situations in small geographical areas." At the beginning of this month the U.S. State Department issued travel warnings for some cities and tourist locations in Mexico. Massieu reiterated that Mexico was a safe place for investment and visitors. Massieu emphasized, "The fact that each year more U.S. citizens visit us shows that Mexico is a safe place."

The Foreign Minister's statements raise several questions. If Mexico is safe enough for foreign investment and American citizens, is it not safe enough for Mexican citizens? The immigration narrative in the United States has been predicated on the reasoning that immigrants are fleeing from violence, and as such they should be welcomed with open arms. But, as Mexico's Minister of Foreign Affairs suggests, these situations are concentrated in small geographical areas. If this is the case, why do Mexicans not migrate to safer areas in Mexico rather than immigrating to the United States? The answer lies in the administration's grossly generous immigration policies. As witnesses explained during today's U.S. House Judiciary Committee Hearing, illegal aliens choose to come to the United States because they know they will be allowed to stay and receive benefits.

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Chinese Governments and EB-5 Projects What the Witness Did Not Report
By David North
CIS Blog, February 4, 2016

Excerpt: In my recent blogpost about Tuesday's Senate hearing on the EB-5 program, I reported that the DHS official in charge of the program, Nicholas Colucci, did not give a substantive response to a question from the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), about the involvement of Chinese governments in EB-5 projects in the United States.

More specifically Grassley asked (approximately), "Can you tell me that no Chinese government owns a regional center?"

There are more than 700 regional centers, all DHS-licensed and mostly for-profit entities, that play the middleman role between foreign investors and U.S. developers.
. . .
This strongly suggests municipal ownership; private corporations, at least in this country, are unlikely to have an address in a city hall. Is the USCIS staff so dense that they did not shoot a memo up the chain of command when they first noticed this, you will pardon the expression, red flag? One would hope not.

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MPI Cheerleads for the Obama Administration's Enforcement Record
By Stanley Renshon
CIS Blog, Frebruary 4, 2016

Excerpt: An institution's point of view is one thing, an individual's receptivity to facts and perspectives that lie outside of it is another. Some individuals are, for policy-analysis purposes, indistinguishable from their organizations. So, if you want the "good news" about the beneficial effects of high levels of immigration, you can always find it here, or here. Those looking for less cheerleading and more analysis will have to go elsewhere.

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Fighting Human Trafficking Abroad, But Not at Home
By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 3, 2016

Excerpt: On February 1, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 400, the "Trafficking Prevention in Foreign Affairs Contracting Act", which will go next to the Senate for consideration.

It is modest in scope, requiring the Department of State (DOS) and Agency for International Development (AID) to report to the Congress within 180 days of enactment on their respective efforts to define contractor recruiting fees, and explain how they will enforce provisions that prohibit the levying of such fees. The fees refer to amounts paid by employees of DOS and AID contractors to obtain their jobs often through shady middle-man recruiting agencies.
. . .
What is disturbing is that Congress finds the will to act in protecting vulnerable workers from developing countries abroad (many of whom will continue to be extremely vulnerable outside the purview of U.S. contract jobs, especially in Middle Eastern countries whose cultural sensitivities are different than ours, to put it delicately), yet has no courage to act on what is, essentially, a government-sanctioned pipeline of smuggled and trafficked aliens surging our borders who are promptly released for resettlement, or placed with putative family members some of whom have proven to be nothing of the sort, but are instead the same morally reprehensible types of contractors and recruiters that the GAO singled out. (See here and here.)

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EB-5 Chief Gets a Gentle Grilling on EB-5 Problems
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: Nicholas Colucci, the DHS official in charge of the EB-5 program within USCIS, got a sustained, fact-based, but courteous, grilling for two hours earlier today as he sought to defend the administration's handling of the controversial immigrant investor program at a hearing before the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
. . .
Much of the conversation was about the "targeted employment areas", sets of census tracts that are supposed to have at least 150 percent of the nation's unemployment rate, but that are often ungainly territories that string together a Fifth Avenue site with a distant slum. EB-5 funds are supposed to be spent in depressed areas, such as properly selected TEAs. His response was that his agency's regulations gave the states total control of this economic mapping. No one asked: "Why hasn't your agency repealed that regulation?"

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It's Tax Refund Time for Illegal Aliens
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: That is also true for the semi-illegals covered (for the moment) by the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. (On the other hand, these illegals and semi-illegals cannot legitimately be covered by the insurance, though some must be beating that system.)

But the big attraction for filing early is not the new Obamacare tax break, which simply reduces the amount owed, it is the Old Faithful of tax breaks that illegal aliens can access: the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC). Illegals filing their income taxes can claim the ACTC if they have (or claim to have) children in the United States. This tax credit, unlike virtually all others, can result in a negative income tax payment. That means that no taxes will be collected from the individual, but he or she will get a check in the mail for all taxes withheld plus a bonus for the credit, as my colleague Jim Edwards has reported in the past.

The ACTC is well worth filing for; it can be as high as $1,000 per child claimed and proving the existence of a child is all too easy, with an ID number issued all too casually by the IRS, as we reported a couple of years ago. This is now called the TIN (tax identification number) and, in the immediate past at least, it was issued in such a sloppy way that the process was roundly criticized by the inspector general of taxation for the Department of the Treasury.

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Visa Overstays: A Lesson in Flexible Facts and Pliable Media
By Dan Cadman
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: On January 20, the New York Times carried this story: "Few Foreign Visitors to U.S. Overstay Visa, Federal Report Says". It states that "A little more than 1 percent of the nearly 45 million foreign visitors to the United States overstayed their work or tourist visas last year, according to a long-awaited report by the Department of Homeland Security."

Great news! Or is it? Let me "do the sums here", as they say. Wait a minute. That's about half a million people added to the illegal alien population in just a year's time.

Since when does the word "few" appropriately apply to such a huge number? Not in any rational universe, but this is, after all, the New York Times, whose objectivity flies out the window on virtually any subject touching upon immigration. (One suspects that when Ted Cruz controversially referred to "New York values", this is the kind of thing he was describing. Perhaps he should have simply said "New York Times values" or "Mayor Bill De Blasio values" or even "Michael Bloomberg values" and avoided disparaging the entire city.)

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Australia Ranks the Risks of Foreign Student Applicants by Nation of Origin
By David North
CIS Blog, February 2, 2016

Excerpt: Australia, like the United States, is a high-income country, and is not a police state. The international student population in both countries is drawn largely from low-income nations. So Australia faces the same problems that we do with many foreign students wanting to stay beyond their allotted time, except that the numbers there are proportionately much larger than they are here.

Australia has created and published a ranking system to sort out all student applicants into three categories: 1, low risk; 2, medium risk; and 3, high risk, based on their country of origin, with the risk being that the student will not leave the country when the visa expires.

Australia then applies these risk assessments to six different types of schools: English instruction, K-12, vocational, undergraduate study for a degree, graduate study for an advanced degree, and non-degree programs. Since Australia is working with 164 nations, and each nation has six rankings, this produces a matrix with a total of 984 boxes, but they have a software program that individualizes this easily for individual applicants.

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House Appropriations Boss Initiates Crackdown on Sanctuaries
By Jessica Vaughan
CIS Blog, February 1, 2016

Excerpt: Today the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee in charge of funding the Department of Justice, John Culberson (R-Texas), put the Obama administration on notice that it must take steps to rein in sanctuary jurisdictions or risk problems getting approval for its own budget requests. In addition, Culberson announced that he will begin requiring local jurisdictions to follow federal law and stop obstructing communication with immigration agencies as a condition for receiving certain federal law enforcement funding.

In a sternly worded letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Culberson said that he has a responsibility to ensure that state and local law enforcement agencies are following federal law before they can get federal grants. He said that sanctuary policies restricting communication between local and federal officials are a clear violation of Section 1373 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Among the jurisdictions that have imposed such policies are San Francisco, Cook County, Ill., and New York City. In addition to prohibiting local officers from communicating with immigration authorities, these jurisdictions bar federal officers from coming into jails to interview or arrest deportable criminals.
. . .
Culberson warned that if the administration stubbornly continues to tolerate sanctuaries, he will find it hard to look favorably on any spending requests from DOJ in the coming appropriations season: "I hope the attorney general will do the right thing here so that I am not compelled to object to relevant portions of the Department's spending plan and reprogramming requests. Any refusal by the Department to comply with these reasonable and timely requests will factor heavily in my consideration of their 2017 budget requests."

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An Update on a Small Educational Entity
By David North
CIS Blog, January 30, 2016

Excerpt: The link was to our 2014 posting, "Should a School with a Financial Statement Like This Be Authorized to Teach Accounting to Foreign Students?". I could not find "the prove from ACICS", but that entity's website shows the accreditation.

In that post, we pointed out that the chief executive of ACCT had signed off on a financial report, filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia, that managed to spell the word "interest" four different ways in the course of five lines of type and included some highly puzzling financial reporting.

More than half a year passed after our blog was published before the accreditation was secured, and another nine months passed before ACCT called it to our attention. For the record, it now has accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Accreditation by this organization has also been extended to, among others, three institutions (not apparently connected to ACCT) that have been in the news recently.

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THE ASSAULT ON THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS: Job losses mount in US steel and aluminum industries

Job losses mount in US steel and aluminum industries

HILLARY'S POPULIST PERFORMANCE SUCKING UP TO THE VICTIMS OF FLINT - Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis

"For years, Hillary Clinton sat on the board of Walmart who was targeted in the largest gender-discrimination class-action lawsuit in US history.  She fought against an increase in the minimum wage in Haiti where thousands of poor Haitian women work in Levis, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom factories.  And she actively lobbied for support of DOMA which set LBGT rights back by 7 years until the Supreme Court reversed the law in 2005." 


"The Obama administration, which Hillary Clinton served for four years as Secretary of State, has accelerated the growth of social inequality
through bank bailouts and cuts to social spending."

Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis

Hillary Clinton covers for Obama and Democrats in Flint water crisis

By Shannon Jones

8 February 2016
The visit by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to
Flint, Michigan on Sunday was an effort at damage control aimed at covering up the criminal role of the Democratic Party in the lead
poisoning disaster and cynically using the tragedy confronting residents to boost her own campaign.

Speaking at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church, which has a
mostly black congregation, on the North side of Flint, Clinton sought
to gloss over the culpability of local and state Democratic party
officials in the Flint water crisis, while strongly implying that the
poisoning of Flint residents was a racial, not a class issue.

Despite her professions of outrage, Clinton only raised the issue of
lead poisoning after it became an issue in the US and global press in
January. Her visit to Flint, only days before the New Hampshire primary, where polls have her trailing US Senator Bernie Sanders, is atransparent attempt to shore up her flagging poll numbers by using local residents as a backdrop.

The stopover in Flint was little more than a photo-op. After a
15-minute speech the Democratic candidate was hustled out of the city
along with her sizeable press and Secret Service entourage.

In her remarks Clinton touted a paltry $200 million in federal aid
proposed for the city of Flint via legislation sponsored by
Congressional Democrats. This is $400 million less than the inadequate
$600 million in federal emergency relief proposed earlier by Democrats
in an amendment to an energy bill pending before Congress. Conservative
estimates of the cost of replacing Flint’s antiquated lead pipes range
up to $1.5 billion. This does not include a price tag on the
incalculable cost to the health of Flint residents, whose children have
been permanently scarred by exposure to lead-tainted water.

Clinton’s proposal is slightly more than the reported $153 million in speaking fees she and former president Bill Clinton have pocketed since leaving the White House in 2001.

Underscoring the unserious nature of Clinton’s professions of
sympathy for Flint residents, the Democratic aid proposal does not even
match the $1 billion spending package to replace lead pipes in Flint
advanced by Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller.

Viewed from another perspective, the amount of aid Clinton cited for
Flint is little more than the cost of a single F-35 fighter jet. The
policy of both Clinton and Obama is clear: unlimited funds when it comes
to bombing Iraq and Syria, but no money to address the life-or-death
social ills facing working people.

Speaking at a black church, Clinton declared, “if what was happening
in Flint had been happening in” the mostly white Detroit suburbs of
“Grosse Pointe or Bloomfield Hills, we all know we would have had a
solution yesterday.”

The attempt to portray the crisis in Flint as a racial issue is
absurd, given the fact that nearly half the population of Flint is
white. Meanwhile the majority of the largely-Democratic local elected
and appointed officials who presided over the disaster are

While the Republican administration of Governor Rick Snyder and
Democrats attempt to shift blame for the crisis, Flint residents
continue to confront elevated levels of lead in their drinking water. To
date, not a single lead pipe in the working class city of 100,000 has
been replaced in the aftermath of the crisis.

The response of the Obama administration to the Flint crisis recalls
the notorious indifference shown by the George Bush administration in
the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. In the
aftermath of the storm that killed 1,800, Bush, abetted by the
Democrats, rejected any serious efforts to rebuild devastated New
Orleans and Gulf Coast cities, leaving the area to rot.

Now, in the wake of Flint, a man-made disaster, the response of all
levels of government is essentially the same. The message of Clinton was
unmistakable: residents of Flint are on their own.

This was expressed in Clinton’s praise of inmates at the Ionia state
prison who volunteered to donate one-third of their meager $10 monthly
stipend to aid the citizens of Flint. Instead of a multibillion federal
public works effort to rebuild Flint’s infrastructure, Clinton touts
donations from prisoners.

Her only other concrete proposal to help Flint was to send AmeriCorps
volunteers to the city. This is a slap in the face to Flint parents,
whose children will need, not untrained volunteers, but rather highly
qualified professionals to deal with the debilitating effects of lead

Clinton absurdly attempted to portray Michigan Democrats as champions
of the people of Flint. She declared, “I thank the elected officials
who are here and I appreciate greatly the work they are doing at the
city, the county and the federal level. I had the opportunity to be with
your friend [Senator] Debbie Stabenow who is working hard with your
friends Senator Gary Peters and the Congressmen Kildee, Levin and others
who are trying to get support and help from the federal government.”
She recited the names of the Michigan Democratic Congressional
delegation in the same breath as that of professor Marc Edwards of
Virginia Tech, who was one of the first to expose lead in the water of
Flint, and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who raised the alarm
about the lead poisoning of Flint children.

While Edwards and Hanna-Attisha showed genuine perseverance and
courage, Michigan Democrats can make no such claim. The emergency
manager of Flint, Darnell Earley, who oversaw the switch of the water
supply of Flint from Detroit to the polluted Flint river, was a
Democrat, as was the mayor of Flint at the time. Indeed, the Flint mayor
and Democratic city council toasted the criminal decision to send
highly corrosive Flint River water into the homes of the city’s

As for the Michigan Democratic Congressional delegation, including US
Representative from Flint Dan Kildee, no one paid heed to the
complaints of Flint residents until after the exposure by Marc Edwards.

Just as criminal as the role of the Snyder administration were the
actions of Obama-appointed officials in the federal Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA). The top EPA official for Michigan, Susan
Hedman, silenced a lower-ranking employee who tried to raise warnings
about lead in Flint’s drinking water. Instead Hedman colluded with state
officials to keep reports of elevated lead levels from the public for
months, until Edwards’ research exploded the cover-up.

Over the past several decades there has been a vast transfer of
wealth from the working class to the richest 1 percent or one-tenth of 1
percent of society. General Motors extracted massive profits off the
backs of the working class in Flint before largely abandoning the city
in the 1980s, leaving a legacy of toxic wastes and poverty.

The Obama administration, which Hillary Clinton served for four years as Secretary of State, has accelerated the growth of social inequality
through bank bailouts and cuts to social spending.