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October 26, 2005

Gulf Coast wage cut to be reversed

After Hurricane Katrina, President Bush illegally suspended the Davis-Bacon Act on the Gulf Coast, the legislation requiring government contractors to pay union or near-union wages.

Happily, the Republicans are now backing off the Gulf Coast wage cut:

Feds to reinstate prevailing wages on Katrina contracts

WASHINGTON The Bush administration will reinstate rules requiring that companies awarded federal contracts for Hurricane Katrina pay prevailing wages, usually an amount close to the pay scales in local union contracts.

Representative Peter King of New York was among congressmen critical of the administration's decision to waive the requirement and who met today with White House chief of staff Andrew Card. He said Card told them the wage requirement would be reinstated November eighth.

In the immediate aftermath of Katrina, President Bush suspended provisions of the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which sets wages for employees on federal contracts to ensure they are not underpaid.

The administration contended the move would reduce rebuilding costs and help open opportunities to minority-owned companies, but unions and other critics said it would result in lower pay for workers. [AP]

Certain "pro-labor" Republicans are facing midterm elections, and it shows.


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This was just about the worst. Just about the worst. Of all the non-lethal but still vile things that they did during Katrina. The truth is that until you brought it up again, I had actually thought it was an apocryphal story, it was so mean. Sounded like an Onion headline: "Katrina reveals below-subsistence-level, grinding poverty; "Cut the minimum wage!" advises Bush"

How much money will be enough for these people? No, really, how much do they need to step on suffering people, to make Dick Cheney and his friends yet more portly?

Pardon me. Wouldn't want to put any strictures on making money. Gucch.

Now, as to the _lethal_ things they did (or failed to do)...

But that's another story.

If you were a large contractor who didn't want to pay Davis-Bacon level wages what could you do to work around it?

Here's one idea: use subcontractors (or sub-subcontractors) who would then employ illegal aliens at a lower wage.

That would work wouldn't it? After all, the Bush administration doesn't enforce the immigration laws, and the Dems are too PC to complain about illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs from American citizens. Sweet!

A bit off-topic, but too good not to share:

Steve Clemons is reporting that Patrick Fitzgerald has just taken spacious, new, substantially enlarged quarters to house his ongoing investigation of the Plamegate matter.

Hallelujah !!

Patrick Fitzgerald's intermediaries denied that there was any significance to the establishment of a new website, minimalist as it is, for the Office of the Special Counsel which is investigating the "outing" of Valerie Plame Wilson's covert CIA responsibilities to the media.

Fitzgerald's people said that the investigation coming to a close and the website going up was just coincidence.

Well, news has just reached TWN that Patrick Fitzgerald is expanding not only into a new website -- but also into more office space.

Fitzgerald's office is at 1400 New York Avenue, NW, 9th Floor in Washington.

What I have learned is that the Office of the Special Counsel has signed a lease this week for expanded office space across the street at 1401 New York Avenue, NW.

Another coincidence? More office space needed to shut down the operation?

I think not. Fitzgerald's operation is expanding.

-- Steve Clemons

>the Dems are too PC to complain about illegal aliens taking rebuilding jobs from American citizens.

Though of course, if those illegal aliens, which are so bad, took all the rebuilding jobs and left you without work, you would instantly become an illegal alien, in order to take a job from someone in another country, if you couldn't wait for or afford the immigrant visa. It wouldn't be bad then, though, because it would be You seeking the work.

So I guess the principle is, as long as it's BigMediaBlog who's employed and someone else who's starving, starvation wages are okay.

Looking on a horrible natural disaster and seeing a chance to [a] gyp workers or [b] hide money from tax collectors is behavior that we can all condemn if it is described in just those words. Why do the already-wealthy who seem drawn like flies to the carcas of hurricane ravaged lives and infrastructure think they are fooling anyone by dressing their intentions up in executive orders or fine print clauses to disaster relief legislation?
I have a hard time watching such news and NOT generalizing and imagining the existence of a special, morally crippled, subspecies that, even in the presence of dire need, can act so quickly for the benefit of the few who have no need.

I saw a documentary last night on Union Carbide's Bhopal disaster in India. A member of a local activist group said that when the doctors trying to treat the victims asked UC what the ingredients of the pesticides were, so they could treat the injured and dying, they were told it was a trade secret.

There's no varnishing it: there are some rich people who are perfectly decent, but these particular rich people got where they are by being greedier than anyone else, and that greed is therefore so uncontrollable, even by them, that it doesn't matter what disaster they're exploiting, or even causing. The suffering of others means nothing to these people. Defending them...

The stench of raw greed these "people" exude makes me literaly sick to my stomach. Just half of this quarter's earnings for any major oil company would be enough to guarantee every man, woman and child caught in the Pakastani earthquake all the food, medical attention, and shelter they need. What does Bush offer? 50 million dollars.

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