James Leroy Wilson's blog

Saturday, January 19, 2013

This Isn't Left, Right, or Libertarian, It's One of the Most Important Articles You'll Ever Read

You don't have to bother with my comments below. Here's the link: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline

A few years ago, I was researching the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. It was passed because of a panic of lead paint in Chinese-produced toys from companies like Mattel, but it ultimately lead to the pulling of old toys in Goodwill stores and the closing down of small domestic producers -- all to the advantage of big companies like Mattel.

(Note: This is what the State does. This is its purpose.)

But that's not the point of this post.

What I found out is that trace amounts of lead in toys or other products had zero to negligible impact on children's health.

But lead did do considerable damage when it was in our gasoline and, secondarily, in house paint. After World War II, both cars and babies boomed in our congested cities. About eighteen years later, the crime rate shot up, way up.

Lead was gradually removed from gasoline starting in the early seventies. Starting in the early 90's crime rates started to drop dramatically.

As Kevin Drum reports, this wasn't just a nationwide trend. It was verified country by country, state by state, even neighborhood by neighborhood.

And, as he reports, lead emissions from those bygone days still exist in our cities, and still exist in the paint of many homes. It damages the urban poor especially, and helps perpetuate a culture of crime.

What's to be done?

Drum suggests transferring $20 billion annually from policing and prison-building to clean-up. This would lead to a 10% drop in crime and would be more than offset by a more productive economy.

However that's done - nationally, state by state, or in some private fashion - I wouldn't object.

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