President Bush never lets an opportunity to hurt working people pass by. Bush has suspended the The Davis-Bacon Act in areas where a Federal State of Emergency has been declared due to hurricane Katrina. Davis-Bacon, passed in 1931, requires Federal contractors to pay the “average” or usual rate of pay for their region. By suspending Davis-Bacon, Bush has cleared the way for contractors to pay workers much less than average as life is rebuilt in the Gulf Coast.

Talk about kicking people when they’re down. The suspension of Davis-Bacon means that people who are desperate for work in these areas can be seriously exploited by contractors who are getting millions from the government to rebuild the area. The State of Emergency arguably makes Davis-Bacon more necessary, not less, to protect those who have been left financially devastated by the hurricane. The construction job market in the area is likely to have many more low-level, unskilled applicants than positions, which means that the working poor will be hurt the most by this action. Furthermore, companies that are unionized will be discriminated against since they cannot undercut their labor this way.

And we’re not talking about people who are being paid a lot in the first place. Prior to Katrina, a construction worker in New Orleans made about $9 an hour. Now, that same worker can expect to make much less — and this in a region that desperately needs to put spending power in the hands of individuals (so that they can buy stuff and get local economies moving again).

This is just one more in a long line of outrages related to Bush’s management of Katrina and his management of our nation. If you needed any more proof that he’s not looking out for the folks, and that he’s a dangerous, deluded fool who is completely out of touch with the everday lives of most people, this is it. This is not what Jesus would do.

Posted on September 9th, 2005 by Katxena