Kick ‘Em While They’re Down

In the grand American tradition of kicking them while they’re down, President Bush made a Proclamation last week that suspends the minimum wage laws for workers in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Hell of a thing to do to people who have lost everything and want to rebuild. Here it is, right from the horse’s mouth,
Proclamation by the President: To Suspend Subchapter IV of Chapter 31 of Title 40, United States Code, Within a Limited Geographic Area in Response to the National Emergency Caused by Hurricane Katrina
Bush is even extending the Emergency Declaration to many states that took in refugees. Like New Jersey???
President Approves Emergency Declaration For New Jersey

Here is a list of the five major companies getting contracts in the area.
FEMA Contracts to Provide Housing Relief for Displaced Hurricane Victims
These companies already have found windfalls in government contracts. There is no need to take money from the wage earners at the bottom of the corporate pyramid. They also have lucrative contracts in Iraq. Our Army protects their civilian contractors, oil workers, at public expense.

The former head of FEMA, Joe Allbaugh, is or has been a lobbyist both for the Shaw Group and for Halliburton.
Former FEMA Chief Is at Work on Gulf Coast: Lobbyist Allbaugh Gives Clients Help
You know Halliburton, that’s the company that is being investigated for overcharging us, the taxpayers, in Iraq.
Halliburton Overcharge Not Deliberate, Zakheim Says

Halliburton’s KBR unit, formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, has been paid $866 million on the oil reconstruction contract and “$61 million is actually the only part that is being questioned,” Zakheim said.

In an unrelated story, our Vice President was still on the Halliburton payroll in 2001. To his credit, he used all of his stock options in 2000 so that he could sell the stock to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Vice President and Mrs. Cheney Release 2000 Income Tax Return

Included in the wage and salary income reported on the tax return is $806,332 in salary and $4,333,500 in deferred compensation and bonuses from Halliburton Company, where Mr. Cheney served as chief executive officer until he resigned on August 16, 2000. As previously reported in Halliburton’s proxy statement, Mr. Cheney received a cash bonus of $1,451,398 from Halliburton in January of this year, which will be included in the 2001 tax return.

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