Friday, September 16, 2005

The future

President Bush addressed the nation last night, and while this was in no way equivalent to the now famous 'bull-horn' speech after September 11th, Hurricane Katrina, for all its might and damage, was no comparison to that atrocity. His speech will be seen as another hallmark of his presidency. And it just ticks off the Left to no end.

He read off a list of federal programs designed to help those whose lives were shattered by Katrina, and those who are aiding the victims, such as states who provide shelter for the masses. He is proposing Enterprise zones, where tax breaks and other incentives will get hammers swinging faster, and homes rebuilt.

Critics lambast him for suspending the David-Bacon Act, but that criticism is purely partisan.


No one remembers the effects of such a suspension after the 1994 Northridge Earthquake in California. Removing the red tape, and in effect cutting no less than 10 days from the start of rebuilding efforts. That's important. John Fund sums it up succinctly, and includes a real-world example of the suspensions effects (emphasis by yours, truly):

A natural disaster like Katrina is also an opportunity to cut through red tape and streamline procedures for getting work done. In 1994, the Northridge earthquake knocked down two sections of the Santa Monica Freeway in Los Angeles, the world's busiest thoroughfare. Governor Pete Wilson promptly offered an extra $200,000 a day for every day the repair work was completed ahead of schedule. The contractor finished the project 74 days ahead of schedule, less than three months after the damage had been done. The director of Caltrans, the state's transportation agency, estimated that without the accelerated effort, the project would probably have taken two years to complete. Similar urgency measures should be applied to restore key bridges like the one connecting New Orleans with Slidell across Lake Pontchartrain.
Critics complain that lower wages are the LAST thing people in that region need now. I beg to differ. Suppose you are building a home, and you have a budget to meet (as if anyone doesn't have a budget!). If you have to pay a laborer $12/hour to swing a hammer, you will do the job with 4 workers (if that's inside your budget).

If you can pay laborers $6/hour, you'll hire 8 workers. Which is more beneficial in this arrangement? And if incentives are offered, like the ones offered by Mayor Wilson above, what Contractor wouldn't hired 4 extra laborers? Even if there aren't time-incentives built in, the sooner one job is done, the sooner the next job can be started. There is no incentive for any contractor NOT to finish a job well and fast. So the more workers, the better.

OK, so a few people won't get $12/hr wage, but a few more will get $6/hr ... isn't that better?? And once the job is finished, they'll be more work to go around. Months, years from now, the salaries will escalate for more experienced workers. Like any area of employment, the better salaries will go to those with greater experience. In some cases, people who were working in unskilled jobs CAN get useful experience to better themselves.

The simple fact is the critics of the President have nothing else to criticize him; they've tried the Iraq War, and the service men and women asked the media why they don't report the good news. They've tried with John Bolton at the UN, and yet the towering building on 1st Avenue in Manhattan still stands (it is a nice piece of real estate; I used to work inside it). They've tried to turn Katrina into a mantra for Global Warming (Sen. Joseph Biden echoed that just this morning on Imus in the Morning), and then we find out the Environmental Lobby killed a 1965 effort to protect New Orleans.

As sad as it sounds, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast will do more for President Bush's legacy then anyone can imagine. That the Left can't invent any way to make this look bad for the President is what angers them the most.

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