Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who Needs the Minimum Wage?

In case you missed it, King George decided the lowely serfs in the hurricane ravaged areas would survive better by eliminating the minimum wage. Our illustrious King issued this proclamation on September 8th via executive order as recommended by FEMA.

As most of you know FEMA actually stands for Flagrantly Eviscerating Minority Areas - which is what the order will certainly do since it will allow employers to a) pay their regular local employers less than minimum wage at a time when they have to rebuild their homes and lives; and b) encourage employers to hire vulnerable immigrants that can be paid extremely low wages without fear of reprisal.

In the big picture context, this simply encourages divisiveness among groups (working class workers vs. immigrants) when we should be uniting to boot King George to jail. It's the ever-present government strategy of divide and conquer.


Blogger Charles said...

I came over to the site from your article.

We must not, as you say, fall for divide and conquer tactics.

By the same token, consider that solidarity with other hurting people is part of maintaining solidarity with New Orleans.

I can well imagine it's frustrating to hear that. When one's pants are on fire, one doesn't want to hear about anything except how to put out that fire.

But this is a case where not only the pants but the hair and the hands are on fire. None of them are expendable.

You have an extraordinary opportunity which those of us who cannot be there have. You can bear witness. To do that, one needs to provide an address, a time of day, a description of the men, and any other details that could help in a later prosecution or congressional investigation. It might turn out their tactics were justified. But without the details, it's nothing but rumor.

Bearing witness against wrong is difficult. In Central America, in Haiti, in Iraq, in Hitler's Germany, in Stalin's Russia and Mao's China, few were up to it.

But even if you provide a cold cup of water to someone who thirsts, it will not be forgotten.

4:42 PM  
Blogger Brother Billy said...

For the sake of accuracy, here's a correction: Bush didn't do away with the minimum wage - it was the Prevailing Wage. In construction, that can be 3-4 times the minimum wage, depending on what's prevalent in the region in question.

It's still a lousy move - trying to do scrimp on labor while spending madly for the benefit of corporate buddies and their high-price private security services.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

Thanks for your work, Naomi. Thanks also for a very fine interview on "On the Clock," KYRS LPFM, Spokane (

8:20 AM  
Blogger Brother Billy said...

Update on the prevailing wage: I just read that the prevailing wage for construction work in New Orleans is only $9. That's extraordinarily low - most places are at least double that. So Bush's elimination of the Davis-Bacon law's prevailing wage is even worse than I originally thought. A wage below $9 per hour is not going to come close to being a living wage in the difficult environment of New Orleans' wreckage.

Incidentally, it's legal - the law provides for eliminating the wage protection in emergencies even though it's a terrible policy in these circumstances.

Bush is also trying to eliminate wage protections for service workers on federal contracts. However, the law that covers them doesn't allow for emergency suspension of their wage standards. I wonder if he can get away with it - or will they try to force some changes in the law through Congress? Doesn't sound like a politically smart move.

Meanwhile, the well-connected big construction corporations get no-bid cost-plus contracts.

10:05 PM  

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