Sunday, September 11, 2005

Presidential profiteering

In typical fashion, Shrub has managed to turn tragedy into profits for his rich buddies. On Friday, Shrub suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires federal contractors to pay at least the prevailing wage of the area in which they are working. For instance, the average roofer in Louisiana may normally make $12 an hour (a figure pulled straight out of my butt); suspending the Davis-Bacon Act means that federal contractors working in Louisiana can pay their roofers as low as the minimum wage of $5.25 an hour. There are a lot of unemployed people in the hurrican zone right now who are going to be temporarily hired by these contractors, and they aren't going to be paid what they deserve.

And who is going to benefit from this change? BushCo's old corporate pals. Two of the biggest federal contracts handed out so far have been to Kellog Brown and Root--a subsidary of VP Cheney's old company Halliburton (Remember them? The no-bid contractor who has made over $9 billion taxpayer dollars so far for work in Iraq)--and to Shaw Group, both clients of Shrub's former campaign manager and head of FEMA Joe Allbaugh. It's worth noting that Allbaugh resigned his position as head of FEMA to form a firm called New Bridges Strategies, which exists solely to discover profit opportunities for American companies in war-ravaged Iraq.

In addition, the CEO of another contractor, Bechtel Corp, is a Shrub appointee to the Export Council. A former Bechtel CEO and Bush for President 2000 campaign chair in Maine, Ross Connelly, was appointed to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a government entity which secures loans for American companies working in foreign countries.

One of the largest contributors to the human suffering in New Orleans and elsewhere on the Gulf coast was cronyism--inexperienced people appointed to high-ranking positions not because of what they could do, but because of who they knew. It seems that BushCo has learned nothing and is merrily bumbling along in the only way it knows how: political payback.


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