Monday, September 19, 2005

Bush To New Orleans: Drop Dead Again

Well, let's recap the last week. Katrina pile drives New Orleans into Oblivion, Bush continues vacation, plays guitar, eats cake. Cuts his five week vacation two days short and flies over the ravaged city, to peer out the window and comment on the mess, then ignores the place for five days while thousands more die.

If that weren't enough to pat oneself on the back about, there's nothing like permitting contractors to pay below the prevailing wage in one of the poorest areas of the country as they rebuild:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush issued an executive order Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.

In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm. - CNN

Where's the outrage in the media? He provides billions in aid, the companies that are favored by Bush Lobbyists get the reconstruction jobs, and he nickels and dimes the broken poor who will be the local contractors to get the work.

It's beyond painful. Is this America? Is this what you want America to look like? Is this the spirit of the American Way? To be allowed to build yourself up again, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Except the GOP just cut your straps and you fall back into the ecoli infested water?

Welcome to Bush's America.

Cut the wage. So Haliburton can get its 68 BILLION, but Joe New Orleans gets his $3/hr, instead of $7?

Because remember, this is a friendlier, compassionate GOP. Why, the just happened to vote for an increase in the minimum wage in March, didn't they? Yes, they voted for a minimum wage increase, finally, after years of retreats from Democratic bills. This bill lead by friend of the people, Rick Santorum, ostensibly raises the minimum wage $1.10 over three years. But here's the teeny weeny downside:

The upshot: while 1.2 million workers could qualify for a minimum wage increase, another 6.8 million workers, who work in companies with revenues between $500,000 and $1,000,000 per year, would lose their current minimum wage protection.

And an even larger number of businesses, those with revenues under $7 million, would be exempt from fines under a range of other safety, health, pension and other labor laws. Essentially, the realm of unregulated sweatshops would be expanded and legalized under Santorum's bill.

Killing Overtime: It gets worse-- the 40-hour work week would be abolished and companies would not have to pay overtime if they cut hours the next week. The proposal is called "flex time", but workers would have no say in the matter. Their hours could be rearranged, upsetting child care and other weekly routines, and companies would no longer have the deterrent of having to pay overtime as a way to encourage giving workers a regular weekly schedule.

Banning State Minimum Wage Laws: But here's a kicker from a GOP supposedly dedicated to states rights. Santorum's bill would ban states from requiring employers to pay tipped workers with a guaranteed wage. Employers could pay tipped workers nothing and force them to live off tips, while states would be preempted from creating a higher wage standard for tipped workers.

From Labor Blog. And there's more and more and more...

Gee, think that's why Santorum is trailing in the polls in his own hometown?

From The Hill, Sept. 19th (hat tip to Daily Kos)

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is losing ground to his Democratic challenger, state Treasurer Bob Casey, a GOP poll to be released today shows.

The Strategic Vision survey, conducted Saturday through Monday, gives Casey a 14-point lead over the second-term senator, with the Democrat at 52 percent and the Republican at 38 percent. Seven percent of the 1,200 likely voters interviewed were undecided.

A poll released in early August by the same firm showed Casey leading Santorum by 11 points.

As more people have heard about Santorum’s book, It Takes a Family, and as the senator has come under attack for comments he made about Hurricane Katrina, a negative impression has begun to congeal, Strategic Vision CEO David Johnson said.
But back to gutting the minimum wage:

Wven with all that stripping of protection from Santorum's bill, voted in by the GOP, Bush just had to come in and slap the stunned survivors of New Orleans who are trying to rebuild their lives with just one more big flyswatter, one more time -


You're poor, you can't help me, so let me help those that can help me.

Is this the America YOU want to live in ?

Call the WHite House and tell them. 202-456-1111
email the white house and tell them.


Blogger United We Lay said...

NO, and I'm telling them daily. I couldn't believe that. I just can't get over how badly this administration handles nearly every issue.

8:48 PM, September 19, 2005  
Blogger boni said...

There's nothing I like better than to call some bureaucrats
and tell them what I think. Last week,
had a whole list of Republican senators you could call to complain about the so-called bipartisan investigation into Katrina. And guess what, the Democrats shut their little investigation down. Now maybe we can have a real investigation. We have really got to raise a ruckass about all this crap that's been going on.

9:19 PM, September 19, 2005  

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