Bush Suspends Minimum Wage
Maybe everyone saw this, but I missed it:
On Thursday, Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon law on all federally financed construction in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. That law requires the federal government to pay the “prevailing wage” on construction projects, which is often higher than the local minimum wage. Suspending Davis-Bacon will allow the government to pay lower than prevailing wages, and Bush said, “will result in greater assistance to these devastated communities and will permit the employment of thousands of additional individuals."Sometimes news requires no commentary. But to put a period at the end of the sentence, this underscores Bush's logic: gut programs that protect the people, including economic and infrastructure programs, until there are dramatic consequences, like Katrina, then use the consequences as an excuse to further gut programs that protect the people. In other words: everything that happens is really good news for bidnez.
Other crimes Bush will use Katrina as an excuse to commit:
- Starting last Wednesday and until next Wednesday, the federal Department of Transportation has eased rules on how many hours truckers can drive when transporting fuel.
- The Environmental Protection Agency has suspended until next Thursday certain federal fuel standards in response to possible diesel and gasoline shortages.
- Bush has ordered suspension of provisions of the Jones Act, which requires transport of petroleum, gasoline and other petroleum products on U.S.-flagged ships while operating in U.S. coastal waters.
In order to expand the long-term U.S. oil and gas supply, DeLay wants to open parts of the country that are currently off-limits to oil and gas drilling. Large swaths of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts are under a federal moratorium on oil and gas exploration until the year 2012.Great goddam country we live in where the politicians prey on the victims of natural disasters to enrich their own political donors and consolidate their power base.
[Update: The Times weighs in on their editorial page today: "By any standard of human decency, condemning many already poor and now bereft people to subpar wages - thus perpetuating their poverty - is unacceptable. It is also bad for the economy... Republicans have long been trying to repeal the prevailing wage law on the grounds that the regulations are expensive and bureaucratic; weakening it was even part of the Republican Party platform in 1996 and 2000. Now, in a time of searing need, the party wants to achieve by fiat what it couldn't achieve through the normal democratic process."]