Tuesday, September 20, 2005

NO to be ground zero for right wing experiments.

The first indication that Bush would be experimenting in New Orleans with all the conservative programs he couldn't persuade Congress to pass was right after Hurricane Katrina, when he used emergency powers to make sure that workers in that city wouldn't get the "prevailing wage" under the Davis-Bacon act. Only Halliburton, apparently, will be allowed to profit from this windfall.
WASHINGTON, Sept 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order on Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.
In a notice to Congress, Bush said the hurricane had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to take such action under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.Reuters

Now Bush has found two more right-wing pet projects he'd like to try. The first is affirmative action. You'd think that the poor and minorities had been screwed enough by suspension of the prevailing wage rule, but Bush and his cronies are nothing if not ideologically pure. So for the time being it's ok to discriminate apparently.
The Labor Department has temporarily suspended government requirements that its contractors have an affirmative action plan addressing the employment of women, members of minorities, Vietnam veterans and the disabled if the companies are first-time government contractors working on reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

While employment lawyers said it was not clear how strong an impact the exemption would have, the move comes as President Bush has tried to address the perception of unfairness in the government's response to the hurricane.NYTimes

And finally, Bush, again under the cover of an emergency gets to try out the conservative project to destroy the public school system, known as "school vouchers."
We can now envision the Federal government supporting religious school systems in New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast. It's a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state, and it's bound to delight Bush's fundamentalist base.

Under President Bush's plan to cover most of the cost of educating students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, parents could enroll their children in a private or religious school this year at federal expense, even if they had gone to public schools back home, administration officials said yesterday.
Washington Post

Get ready New Orleans, you're going to be the petri dish for every right wing idea that's been rejected by Congress for the past 50 years. Right now, I wouldn't be surprised if Bush isn't seeking emergency power to overturn Roe v. Wade in the Gulf Coast. Remember when Bush said that dictatorship wouldn't be so bad "as long as I'm the dictator"?

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