Keeping the Poor Out

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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?

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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