Keeping the Poor Out


Recall that Bush, in the wake of Katrina, was able to suspend federal labor laws that require federal contractors to pay a prevailing wage.

That was bad enough.

But now it seems that not only are workers at companies with federal contracts being paid below the prevailing wage, but they are being radically underpaid. Body and Soul links to an LATimes story today which notes that some workers are only being paid $4 an hour!

Jeanne then writes:

If all you care about is putting up structures, cheap is good. If you’re trying to rebuild a community, the most important thing is giving people something to come back to. Four dollars isn’t it. If anybody cared about the community, they’d be paying way more than prevailing wages, and giving evacuees priority on getting the jobs.

Somehow we have trained these corporations to believe that national disasters are a time for them to profit. But this gets things all wrong. A system that privileges the profit of a construction company over the basic welfare of those who will live in the area after it is rebuilt is a system that has been turned upside down. Indeed, what good will it be to rebuild that community if you underpay the very people who are supposed to live that community?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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