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Jim Hightower
OtherWords / Op-Ed
Published: Monday 2 April 2012
“Lead poisoning is entirely preventable.”

Congress Opts to Keep Poisoning Children

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Yes, we certainly need to cut unnecessary and frivolous federal spending, because…well, because it's unnecessary and frivolous.

So Congress has targeted unnecessary oil subsidies and frivolous tax giveaways to billionaires, right?

Uh…no. Instead, our learned solons have chosen to whack the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. In December, our lawmakers slashed this tiny, $30-million fund that's not even worth a decimal point of the national budget by 94 percent, to only $2 million. Gutting this program won't save you and me a penny on our tax bills.

Well, retort the whackers, who needs this program, anyway? Some of the poorest families in America, that's who. Lead poisoning from contaminated paint and soil is a silent epidemic in our country, afflicting some half-a-million low-income children a year with permanent brain damage and loss of IQ. The only safe level of lead in a child's blood is zero, which is why this program to monitor blood levels of lead and help state health departments inspect homes and contain the poison was initiated.

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. America has the science and programs to stop this insidious destruction of babies' brains. Yet even the miniscule $30-million budget the program previously had couldn't touch the crisis of lead contamination in the 4 million homes in which vulnerable children live.

And now Congress has refused this dollop of funding, responding instead to the wails of Wall Street billionaires that federal spending be cut to preserve their minuscule tax rates.

Imagine the national emergency Congress would declare if 4 million homes of the super-rich posed a danger to their children. But we're told that such thoughts amount to class war — and we can't have that, can we? To fight this outrage, go to

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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

Jim, Jim, Jim:

Jim, Jim, Jim: "...half-a-million low-income children a year with permanent brain damage and loss of IQ"?

If they save those children, how can the plump pampered plutocrats count on a permanent underclass to exploit for menial, dirty, and dangerous work?

Add up the total campaign

Add up the total campaign contributions legislators received from the parents who know that their children benefited from the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Are you still wondering why the program got cut?

Genetic variation through

Genetic variation through hybridization and plant breeding is one thing but the GMO plants have been modified by inserting genetic material from other organisms. Corn has been given a gene from the Bacillus thuringiensis bacteruim so that it can produce it's own bt toxin as an insecticide against rootworms. Now the insecticide is in the corn and we eat it instead of being able to wash it off. Rootworms are becoming resistant to the bt corn. What new toxic plan does the industry have for our food, in the name of efficiency of course?

I've never seen a kid eat

I've never seen a kid eat paint. But the contamination in our water supply is severe. Both need to be monitored. "How much shit can a yuppy eat, if a yuppy eats shit all day?" Quite a bit I suppose, but then his organs start to break down. 150 million Americans have heart disease, diabetes or both. A good argument for getting rid of Medicare is the cost of diseases we are nurturing with our ignorant treatment of food, water and air, and our failure to correct these. We are all going to die, but some of us have an opportunity to make billions off these things before we go, with no compassion for the rest of us and the suffering ahead. Viet Nam veterans are dieing off ahead of the WWII vets from exposure to the same crap that Monsanto has modified corn and soy with. So get the lead out of your ass and pay attention - this shit is real and we need to deal with it.

it isn't the paint, it is the

it isn't the paint, it is the powdery dust on the paint (and in the dirt) & kids don't wash their hands & stick everything in their mouth

Right to the brain b4 age 6 - before blood / brain barrier formation....

I would have to wonder if this will exclude the examination of lead chalk, jewelery, and many paints on imports (esp China - export your toxic waste! Ah So!)

Norman Allen's picture

This is interesting Mr.

This is interesting Mr. Hightower. I just wonder how many poor families this lead based paint program saved in the past over 20 years. I have not seen a single case of publicity from this program benefiting the poor. I totally agree with you in other areas where the representatives of the .0005% are systematically reducing taxes on the those who make the most from the system and are passing the costs to the rest of us, I do not find the lead based program really helping anyone any more after over 20 years. Best to you from Austin.

Norman, there is lead-based

Norman, there is lead-based paint STILL covering the walls and window sills of many homes. It is peeling, in these homes, and the chips are finding their way into the mouths of babies, and transferring to the sweaty fingers of kids who lick it off.

Emergency rooms are still dealing with these effects, and once the symptoms become life-threatening (which is commonly why they finally see these cases) it is often too late to restore the intelligence the lead has taken away.

But that's all in the "educational" plans of the Reich anyway. They don't WANT us intelligent enough to call BS on them. They want us fat and stupid, because then they know they can manipulate us how they will.

I'm thinking it's time all

I'm thinking it's time all our representatives be paid the national minimum wage with no benefits to speak of, other than those required by law. I bet we'd see a good deal of change if that happened, and we'd probably see it happen within a month.

They can work for free and it

They can work for free and it won't change a thing as long as we allow them to sleep with lobbyists and give birth to lobbyists.

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