Guest Editorial

Ben Pauli

With the death toll constantly rising in the Gulf Coast region and with millions of homeless and displaced residents in need of help, Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact on the New Orleans area is far from over. Perhaps most appalling about the entire ordeal, however, is the complete incompetence and neglect that the Bush administration has shown in regards to the crisis. Certainly President Bush’s callous decision to remain on vacation after the hurricane hit coupled with Barbara Bush’s insensitive comments raises some cause for concern. But besides the general displays of indifference for the poor of the Gulf Coast region, President Bush has had the audacity to actually use the disaster for political gain in order to benefit his corporate allies. Following the hurricane and subsequent flooding, President Bush suspended federal rules and allowed for the extension of no-bid contracts to major corporations. Bush then made further concessions to these corporations when he suspended the Davis-Bacon Act which requires federally funded companies to pay local prevailing wages to its employees. Such acts of crony capitalism are, simply put, a slap in the face to Katrina survivors. For our President to make concessions to corporations over employee wages in one of the poorest parts of the country, which is expected to lose hundreds of thousands of jobs because of this disaster, is outright repulsive.