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Saturday, September 24, 2005

More Proposals for Gulf Coast Recovery

Many of my more conservative friends are concerned that federal money spent on those in need of assistance will actually go to some "bum who's just sitting around waiting for an assistance check". I won't say that this couldn't happen, but it will be much less likely to happen if the Bush administration takes steps to increase the wages paid to the people who will be doing the work in the region.

I find it strange that so many people are more concerned that an indiviudal might get a hundred or a thousand dollars that they do not perhaps deserve "after losing their home and livelihood", but these same people are not in the least concerned that certain corporations and large companies who lost not a thing are likely to wander off with undeserved billions which they skim from the reconstruction projects.

Another aspect of the president's plan is to give $5,000 to survivors who need it for additional job training and education assistance. This could be a very good portion of his plan if it isn't undermined by low wages. There will be little benefit, if any at all, to evacuees if the job training they receive is rendered useless. For example once trained they learn that no jobs that allow him or her to escape poverty are available because that has all been compromised away just to entice businesses into the area. What a waste of time and money that would be.

Mr. Bush we need solutions that create a situation in which people can see a future for themselves beyond just the daily survival. I was deeply troubled to see thousands of black people trapped at the Superdome and the Convention Center. I found it troubling because we are people who have triumphed over some of the worse oppression in the world to create the greatest freedom movement the world has ever known. In New Orleans, many had lived for years and years under low-wage conditions that, in the end, rendered us helpless. Our government through its policies, has encouraged the departure of jobs from our communities, and left us begging.

This can not continue. We need to insure that those proposals include adequate job training and livable wages. These are the only real solutions to the poverty that we saw displayed on television during the Katrina crisis. We need to insure that the Bush adminsitration rebuilding of the area is directed toward ending the low-wage reality. A reality that so many people grappled with -- a reality that was, in essence, an accessory in the tragedy. We need to be skeptical about proposals to bolster supply-side ideology. We need to be dubious of plans that use tax dollars to enrich corporations more than the people they are supposed to help.

Mr. Bush we need you to make the connection between low wages and poverty. We need you to re-instate the Davis Bacon Act now because poverty is a national emergency.


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