Saturday, September 10, 2005

Pay them peanuts...this should be a new scandal

OK... this should be a new scandal:

From an MSNBC story:

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."
Umm... yeah, right. Who's got the big clean-up contract? Halliburton (read more from the Washington Post). Halliburton will be doing Federally funded clean-up and reconstruction ('cause they're doing such a swell job in Iraq). And Halliburton will be able to pay folks 'less than the prevailing wage'. Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about that, 'cause I'd say they wouldn't be able to find anyone good for less than the 'prevailing wage'. But with so many businesses destroyed in the Gulf Coast States, there will be massive unemployment. In the next few months in some areas the clean-up and reconstruction will be one of the few things going. So Halliburton and Bush cronies get to make out like bandits again.

This means that people who went from not much to nothing get the shaft again. People who've lost everything will probably have to work crap wages, too. One bright note is it's reassuring to see that some parts of the Bush administration were able to function swiftly after Katrina, so I guess that means they're not completely inept.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a republican but your comment about minimum wage frustrates me. Lets say we raise minimum wage to $20, nay $30/hour. What business could afford to hire people? It would actually slow the rebuilding process because nobody could afford to rebuild.

Bush totally blew it on this recovery but you have to give him credit for taking steps here to help when a public that's generally ignorant of economics is going to give him hell for this. And you vote.

I'm not making this up. Here's a quote from a hospital that can't afford minimum wage so it turns away willing workers.
"We were forbidden to allow patients to work unless they were paid Federal Minimum Wage and of course, there was no money in the budget for that."

You're calling for more bureaucracy when bureaucracy just cost the lives of untold numbers of people. Do us all a favor and read an Econ 101 textbook before you vote again.

Vol Abroad said...

Whoa, back up the truck, buddy. I didn't call for $20 or $30 an hour minimum wage.

The minimum wage is $5.15 an hour.

And I have read an Econ 101 textbook, in fact I have an MA in Economics. I am against minimum wages which distort the local labor market, but I am in favor of minimum wages - as a floor wage - which protect the most exploitable workers from being exploited further.

I am against the law being changed swiftly so that folks like Halliburton can cream more of the wealth from America.

Sam said...

In spite of whatever economic benefit may accrue from suspending Davis-Bacon, I think it's pretty clear that the motives were craven and vicious.