Blame game in full swing in Flint

The blame game was in full swing this week as Congress held hearings on the Flint, Mich., water fiasco. There, people drank water tainted with lead for months before anyone did anything to deal with the threat.

On Wednesday, lawmakers heard a round of cover-your-behind accusations from local, state and federal officials – all trying to blame someone else.

But the bottom line is clear: Local officials knew there was a problem and, for too long, did nothing about it. State officials knew there was a concern, but issued no orders to deal with it. And U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials warned there was a risk to the public’s health, but took no decisive action to eliminate it.

“In retrospect, government at all levels should have done more,” admitted Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Director Keith Creagh.

Precisely. Local government is supposed to look out for the best interests of people. State officials are entrusted with ensuring that happens. Federal agencies are expected to serve as a backup when serious health or safety risks are involved.

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help,'” the late President Ronald Reagan joked in 1986.

For people in Flint – and who knows how many others throughout America – Reagan’s comment has taken on deadly seriousness.