Earlier this year, when I wrote my big piece about lead and crime, I hoped that maybe someone important would see it and actually do something constructive. It’s always nice to make a difference, after all. But as Harry Stein points out today, that’s not exactly what happened. Here’s the House GOP budget for 2014:
Idiots. Stein explains the consequences: “Exposure to lead causes permanent brain damage, and half a million American children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning is linked to lower IQs, learning disabilities, and even criminal behavior. The connection between lead poisoning and crime is so strong that scholars have even linked the prevalence of leaded gasoline to the overall crime rate…..Using the most conservative estimate of $17 in benefits for every dollar invested, the $6 million that sequestration already cut from lead removal programs will cost our country at least $102 million. The House Republican cut of $64 million below sequestration would cost over $1 billion.”
Of course, lead removal programs mostly benefit poor people and non-whites, and the Republican Party has made it extra clear lately that they don’t care about either group. I guess the only real surprise here is that they didn’t cut the program to zero.