Quick, While They’re Not Looking!

Figures. The disaster on the Gulf Coast has opened a hole for the government to suspend all kinds of annoying regulations:

  • Starting last Wednesday and until next Wednesday, the federal Department of Transportation has eased rules on how many hours truckers can drive when transporting fuel.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency has suspended until next Thursday certain federal fuel standards in response to possible diesel and gasoline shortages. The suspended rules are designed to combat high ozone and sulfur emissions.
  • Bush has ordered suspension of provisions of the Jones Act, which requires transport of petroleum, gasoline and other petroleum products on U.S.-flagged ships while operating in U.S. coastal waters.
  • Senate Environment and Public Works chairman Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said Congress would need to waive a law that limits federal emergency road building funds to $100 million per state per emergency and that limits full federal funding to 180 days.
  • The House unanimously passed a bill allowing the Department of Education to waive the repayment requirement for low-income college students who received Pell grants. Normally if a college student drops out of school, he must pay back the unused portion of his Pell grant.
  • On Thursday, Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon law on all federally financed construction in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. That law requires the federal government to pay the “prevailing wage” on construction projects, which is often higher than the local minimum wage. Suspending Davis-Bacon will allow the government to pay lower than prevailing wages, and Bush said, ???will result in greater assistance to these devastated communities and will permit the employment of thousands of additional individuals.”
  • House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, saw a need for a new energy bill as a result of the hurricane. “When one hurricane, as massive as it was, can knock out about 20 percent of our (oil and natural gas) facilities, it shows how vulnerable we are,” he said. In order to expand the long-term U.S. oil and gas supply, DeLay wants to open parts of the country that are currently off-limits to oil and gas drilling. Large swaths of the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts are under a federal moratorium on oil and gas exploration until the year 2012.

Good thing all we have to do to pay for all the government spending is crank up the printing presses at the Fed! Notice, though, that just as the money supply gets ready to explode, driving down the value of the dollar, the “prevailing wage” law in the affected area is scrapped by presidential fiat (i.e., decree of the king).

So just as dollars drop in value, people who need work–the ones displaced by the hurricane–will get less of them. How convenient.

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