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Friday, September 23, 2005

Gulf Coast Road to Prosperity

In the last post I commended the president on finally making the connection between race and poverty. I also give him his due respect for proposing a plan to ensure the area recovers in all aspects. I have no issue with using the free-enterprise system to improve life conditions. I do have a problem with Mr. Bush's battle plan.

I wonder why it includes a segment ensuring low wages. Surely one of the problems in the region is the fact the people weren't earning wages high enough to afford personal transportation. Mr. President you need to make that connection: low wages lead to poverty. Poverty leads to the inability to flee from danger. The connection between poverty and low wages is essential in order for the citizens to make a full recovery in the Gulf Coast region.

This is why I wonder why the president so quickly suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, a federal regulation in effect since 1931, enacted-during the depression-in order to set a fair minimum pay scale for workers on federal contracts by requiring contractors to pay the prevailing or average pay in the region, instead of skimming all the profits for themselves. Does the president expect the people of the region, who've lost everything in most cases, to begin to rebuild their lives for a rate of less than $9 an hour? How can they afford a home? How can they afford an sutomobile? How low are you willing to go?

Are you, Mr. President, taking advantage of a disaster in order to plump up the finances of the corporation of record Halliburton? Are the Halliburton executives, and the Halliburton Corporation, taking a reduction in pay out of respect for the recovery of these poor communities in three of the poorest states in the nation?

Here is my recommendation. In consideration of all the previously received benefits received by the Halliburton Corporation from the largesse of government in previous contracts, and out of a sincere desire to do good, the Halliburton Corporation will agree to work without profit. Not good enough? How about this?

Out of consideration of all the previous profits and contracts Halliburton executives agree to work on the reconstruction for the princely sum of less than $9 per hour. Sounds pretty good to me. Many people and organizations have donated their time, energy and money for free. Why not Halliburton?