Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Saturday, September 10, 2005

THE VULTURES ARE LICKING THEIR BEAKS: Not even all of the bodies have been found, but the Corporatists are not letting any mud settle under their cloven hoofs. Today's N.Y. Times reports that
Republican leaders in Congress and some White House officials see opportunities in Hurricane Katrina to advance longstanding conservative goals like giving students vouchers to pay for private schools, paying churches to help with temporary housing and scaling back business regulation.

"There are about a thousand churches right here in Houston, and a lot of them are helping people with housing, but FEMA says they can't reimburse faith-based organizations," Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader, said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mr. DeLay, who joined three of President Bush's top economic advisers on a tour of relief efforts near the Houston Astrodome, added that Congress should also allow students displaced by the hurricane to use vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools. ...

The Bush administration has already moved to relax a variety of regulations in areas damaged by the hurricane. Many of the changes are small, like letting people take bigger tax deductions for the miles they drive while doing charitable work. Another change, announced on Friday by Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, will give preference to investment groups from hurricane areas that are seeking tax credits for community development projects.

But other changes are more ideological and more controversial. On Thursday, Mr. Bush issued an order that exempts federal contractors working on disaster relief projects from a longstanding federal requirement that they pay workers "prevailing wages," which are usually pegged to union pay rates.

The exemption strikes at the heart of a requirement that labor unions and Democratic lawmakers have ferociously defended for years.


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