Sometimes you just have to keep beating a dead horse. The water is a human right crowd demands it – http://rinf.com/alt-news/usa-news/americans-demand-president-obama-intervene-detroit-water-crisis/.
“It’s absurd that, in the twenty-first century, we have to argue about whether or not Americans have the right to water,” said Charles Chamberlain, executive director of Democracy for America, a national progressive political organization with one million members nationwide.
Progressives are infamous at wordsmithing. Treated water delivered through a public infrastructure has never been a human right. Neither is a living wage as the $15 per hour minimum wage crowd is. Minimum thresholds of what is considered essential for life are determined by society. In other words, by our peers. A right isn’t open to interpretation or subject to a law or voted on by a democracy.
Should a desert dwelling Bedouin tribe also possess this perceived “right to water”? After all, it’s the 21st century there as well. If you say no because they choose to live where water isn’t readily available, then it isn’t a right. If you say no because they don’t live in an advanced society such as America, it isn’t a right. Rights aren’t concerned with geography or the status of a society’s development.
Therein lies the key point. Clean, safe water delivered directly to your household is a result of entrepreneurs operating in an industrialized nation. Modern plumbing didn’t come about as a right. That came with a cost. Rights don’t come with a cost.
In fact, cost is completely overlooked by the water is a human right crowd. In 2009, the EPA estimated that $335 billion in infrastructure costs would be required over a 20 year period to maintain our water systems – http://www.bna.com/epa-releases-survey-n17179874350/. The American Water Works Association paints a much more dire scenario estimating $1.7 trillion would be necessary over 50 years – http://www.awwa.org/legislation-regulation/issues/infrastructure-financing.aspx.
Think the residents of Detroit can’t afford their water bill now? Imagine if they are tapped to cover the costs to maintain their water system over the next half century. Those reports are only for upgrade and replacement costs, not operating costs.
The good folks over at the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization even developed a Water Affordability Program for the city of Detroit to adopt – http://mwro.org/water_affordability_program.htm. This is simply a wealth transfer system in which the higher income pay for the lower income water bills.
The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) will provide annual funding for a water affordability program for income-eligible Detroit residents, funded solely by customers in Detroit.
Again, no accounting for the true cost of maintaining the “basic human right” of water delivered to your tap, just a straight up welfare program.
The entire argument is nothing more than thinly disguised collectivism. Create a dependency and enable big government to be the only entity capable of delivering it. If it is truly the duty of society to deliver all of lifes essentials to every man, woman and child, than communism is your only alternative. However, even communism comes with a cost, doesn’t it?
Air, food, water, energy, shelter, health care, education, etc. All are required and all should be equally important. All should be human rights under this logic and if so, all should be free for the taking. After all, isn’t eliminating wealth inequality a hot topic? Why not take the financial aspect right out of the equation? Oh, that’s right, you can’t because somebody always has to pay for it. Even when it’s a basic human right which should never cost a penny.
Perhaps this should be their anthem.
BTW, the water is a human right crowd have valid points about the need for clean, safe water. And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could ensure that every human had all of their basic needs satisfied? The collectivists believe forced wealth redistribution is the way to go about it. This makes it more than clear that this isn’t a debate over rights. It’s simply another attack on individualism.