Friday, October 21, 2005

Prevailing Wages

I knew contractors could hold a local politician in thrall - hell, every alderman in Chicago is some contractor's bitch - but the fucking President?

If we aren't even going to keep track of all that money that we fast-tracked through to help Katrina victims, it's transparent duplicity to let contractors pay garbage wages to the workers who are going to rebuild the gulf.

This sounds like a job for SexyRetard, since accountability turns him on.

From Reuters:

Democrat forces US House vote on Bush wage order

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 (Reuters) - A Democratic lawmaker on Thursday moved to force a showdown in the Republican-led House of Representatives over President George W. Bush's order to allow contractors to cut the wages of Hurricane Katrina clean-up workers.

Rep. George Miller of California filed a measure under a never-before-used parliamentary procedure that would require a House vote on whether to overturn Bush's Sept. 8 order allowing federal contractors to pay workers in hurricane-ravaged states less than local prevailing wages.

Miller's maneuver under the 1976 National Emergencies Act requires a vote by Nov. 4 on an issue that has Democrats united and Republicans divided.

If Republican leaders fail to hold a vote on Miller's joint resolution by Nov. 4, the act allows him to demand that one be held within three days, according Miller spokesman Tom Kiley.

Because no one has ever used the emergencies act's "fast track" procedure to force a vote, Kiley could not rule out some unforeseen parliamentary obstacle by Republican leaders. But he added, "It's hard to imagine what they'd come up with."

Miller, the ranking Democratic on the House Education and Workforce Committee, filed a bill in September to overturn Bush's executive order. Despite its 203 co-sponsors -- all House Democrats and one independent -- there is no assurance that Republican leaders would have allowed the 435-member body to vote on second-guessing a Republican president.

But another 37 House Republicans recently wrote Bush to ask him to reinstate the prevailing wages required under the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act.

Kiley said he was optimistic that many of those Republicans would join Democrats in voting to overturn Bush's order. Senate Democrats are considering a similar maneuver, Kiley said.

Bush told Congress last month that Hurricane Katrina had caused "a national emergency" that permits him to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act in ravaged areas of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

The law requires contractors of federally funded construction projects to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is being done.

"The prevailing wages along the Gulf Coast were already among the lowest in the country," Miller said in a statement.

5 Comments:

Blogger sexyretard said...

Hey there German,

How exactly are "prevailing wages" determined? I know this is something I should already know but because I don't, how are they determined?

1:58 PM  
Blogger Germanicu$ said...

If you visit www.wdol.gov, you can check out Wage Determinations the Department of Labor has listed for nearly every conceivable skilled labor job out there.

A small sampling:

State: Mississippi

Construction Type: Building

County: Hinds County in Mississippi.

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS (does not include residential
construction consisting of single family homes and apartments
up to and including 4 stories).

Sprinkler Fitter$ 21.25

Bricklayer/Blocklayer $ 15.54

Carpenter (Including drywall hanging, drywall framing, installation of acoustical ceiling & batt insulation)$ 12.06

Cement Mason/Concrete Finisher.$11.16

Electrician$ 13.10

Glazier$ 12.78

and so on.

Also worth a look at http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/aam/DBRA_Guidance.pdf :

under faqs about the suspension of the prevailing wages requirement, one q is: "How long will the suspension last?"
Answer: "The suspension will remain in force until rescinded by the President."

2:23 PM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

Having had a look at the prevailing wages themselves (I'm still curious, and I reckon I'll be answered by your link, just how they are determined), it seems clear to me that Bush is trying to turn Katrina-relief into a kind of Wal-Mart of reconstruction, complete with underpaid laborers (perhaps it would be easier for contractors to use "perfectly legal" construction workers.)

One wonders why well-paid laborers would be a problem to Mr. Bush.

Incidentally, here's my tax idea (having mentioned the upcoming book). A high, flat tax with a high rate of exemption. For example, the first 30,000 dollars per adult would be tax free (and maybe an additional 5,000 per child) but every dollar beyond that would be taxed at 20%, no matter how much property you own or how nice you are to your church or political party.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

I think S-Tard's tax plan is on, or approaching the money, though I would want to see the revenue effects before committing to it. In fact, his plan is very similar to the one proposed by Governor Moonbeam in his ill-fated presidential bid lo these many years ago. I think we'll have an interesting dicussion of the philosphy of progressive taxation next time around.

11:56 AM  
Blogger sexyretard said...

This is Jerry Brown you're referring to? What did they call Moon Landrieu? Any connection? Whatever we determine about taxation, I think it has to be paired (with that which turns me on), accountability as to how we're spending our dollars. It's not well paid laborers that I'm afraid of, but rather well paid bureaucrats who don't actually work, or who work for agencies that don't do a lot of good. I can't help but believing the one with which I had personal involvement was not an exception.

6:49 AM  

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