Thursday, September 22, 2005

Curmudgeon's Congressman Speaks! Sort of.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a biblical scale disaster that leveled a large part of three states and displaced a 1,000,000 people, hundreds of billions of dollars are being thrown around to re-build. As it has been widely reported no-bid contracts went out to the usual suspects and guaranteed "cost-plus" provisions were included so no matter what these supposed, "free market competitors/bastions of capitalism" are guaranteed a profit. Great deal if you can get it. And not just a buck or two more for a job well done. Count on record billions in profits.

But who exactly will be doing the actually heavy lifting? Who will clean up the fetid and festering Everest-sized mountains of garbage and debris? And who will pick up hammers and plywood (maybe steel reinforced concrete would be a good idea in building codes there like in Florida after they got leveled one too many times) to re-build their communities? People. Regular, humble, out of work, displaced, start from square one Gulf Coast victims of Katrina. And do they get guaranteed profits or no-bid contracts?

The suspension of the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 (sounds yummy) by W, his first move after Katrina, is about allowing "those companies lining up for a piece of that $200 or $300 billion to cut the wages of the folks who are actually going to do the work" explains Josh Marshall. Josh, in his usual terse and pithy way says, "What sense does that make? It amounts to wage gouging. Bad values. And actually pretty bad macro-economics since as much as these disaster-stricken regions need roads rebuilt they need people who can take their families out to dinner and buy new clothes. And lower wages for folks involved in the reconstruction -- which is going to be a big slice of the population -- has a ripple effect across the board in those regions."

Talking Points memo also suggested people call their representatives to find out where they stand. After a couple of phone messages I got Matt Towson, the press secretary for Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL, 10th) to give the Curmudgeon a "no comment" on Kirk's position on the suspension of the Act or the bill in Congress to suspend the suspension. The bill, H.R. 3763, has 186 co-sponsors, all Democrats. What a shock. There are rumors that some Republicans, deemed moderate, are circulating a letter for public release but as of yet no Republican co-sponsors of H.R. 3763.

I guess a moderate Republican is someone who claims to feel your pain but does nothing about it. Wonder if the Republicans are in favor of wage caps on CEOs of Halliburton, Fluor, Bechtel, SCI, Kenyon, or anyone of a number of companies involved in Katrina re-construction? Guess the wind, rain and flood survivors and non-survivors of Katrina should have had better lobbyists and political connections. Maybe in the next life. And maybe members of congress, like Rep. Kirk, could actually support the guy with no shoes, no hammer and no house who has to start over in New Orleans rather than the company that employs him. And by the way, "no comment" really is a comment. It speaks loud and clear.

P.S. If there is any chance I get audited because of this, I retract everything.


Blogger Crankyboy said...

Hey, "Tony Blankley"

Why don't you use your real name or even a screen anme you coward and why don't you come up with an original thought rather than cutting and pasting an article by Newt's former press stooge? Maybe because you don't have any.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous guile said...

you got me with the p.s.

10:46 PM  

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