Hurricane Katrina: Profiteering

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"As recovery on the Gulf Coast morphs into reconstruction, the federal government will be handing out billions of dollars in contracts," Michael Hiltzik wrote in the September 12, 2005, Los Angeles Times.

"Who will reap this bonanza?," he asked. "Not the people employed to remove wreckage, build houses and restore the infrastructure. While Congress was appropriating nearly $52 billion in relief and reconstruction programs last week, Bush quietly suspended the Davis-Bacon Act in the flood region. This law mandates that workers on federal construction projects be paid at least the prevailing local wage. ... The disaster entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are already saddling up."

"Those no-bid, cost-plus contracts already being dealt out to the usual suspects tell you what you need to know about future cost-overruns, klepto-reconstruction activities, and the like which are practically guaranteed to deconstruct the bulk of the Gulf Coast and leave New Orleans, the destroyed parts of Mississippi, and the hundreds of thousands of evacuees, not to speak of Congress, gasping for breath amid a landscape largely sucked dry, not of water, but of cash and sustenance." --Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse, TomDispatch, September 13, 2005.


The following are companies or individuals who have been identified as profiteering from Hurricane Katrina.

Bush Proclamation on Suspending Minimum Wage

President Bush [ signed] a proclamation September 8, 2005, which suspended the minimum wage -- "Within a Limited Geographic Area in Response to the National Emergency Caused by Hurricane Katrina" -- on "every contract in excess of $2,000, to which the Federal Government or the District of Columbia is a party, for construction, alteration, or repair, including painting and decorating, of public buildings and public works of the Government or the District of Columbia that are located in a State or the District of Columbia and which requires or involves the employment of mechanics or laborers shall contain a provision stating the minimum wages to be paid various classes or laborers and mechanics. ...

"And, as to such contracts to be performed in such jurisdictions, I do hereby suspend, until otherwise provided, the provisions of any Executive Order, proclamation, rule, regulation, or other directive providing for the payment of wages, which provisions are dependent upon determinations by the Secretary of Labor under section 3142 of title 40, United States Code."

This includes: 6 counties in Alabama, 3 counties in Florida, 65 parishes in Louisiana, and 81 counties in Mississippi.

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Related SourceWatch Resources: Hurricane Katrina: List of related pages

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