From the Wall Street Journal, by way of Digby (italics mine):
Some new measures are already taking shape. In the past week, the Bush administration has suspended some union-friendly rules that require federal contractors pay prevailing wages, moved to ease tariffs on Canadian lumber, and allowed more foreign sugar imports to calm rising sugar prices. Just yesterday, it waived some affirmative-action rules for employers with federal contracts in the Gulf region.
The prevailing wage in that part of the country is $9-10/hour, which comes out to $18,000-20,000 per year. This is hardly the high life. To lower wages below this amount makes no sense: many of these contracts are no-bid, and all the contracts are signed with the federal government. Essentially, the federal government has the power to determine what wages will be. Higher wages wouldn’t hurt the companies, as they wouldn’t have to compete on labor costs–a federal minimum prevents that. Also, the companies don’t have to compete with foregin sweatshop labor; that’s the advantage of public works projects.
Is it really in the intrest of the country, given the opportunity to ‘recreate’ New Orleans, to reinstitute near-poverty wages? Let’s keep the pretty houses and get rid of the lousy wages.
Anyone who thinks that any savings from lower wages will be returned to the taxpayer is delusional. Any company that cares so little about its workers such that it pays its workers less than nine dollars per hour for hard work won’t give a damn about looting the public till.
These companies will pocket the difference, not the taxpayer.
Another great Republican social ‘experiment’–from the anti-science party.