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Business in New Orleans

Submitted from Dave Gallagher:

I was sitting at Starbucks this morning sipping a Venti Latte which I obtained via a mutually beneficial voluntary exchange. My companion, a good natured but eternally self contradicting "progressive" had been yacking about "Big Oil" price gouging. I flipped open the local paper to the business section where the following article caught my eye.

BATON ROUGE, La. - Burger King is offering a $6,000 signing bonus to anyone who agrees to work for a year at one of its New Orleans outlets. Rally's, a local restaurant chain, has nearly doubled its pay for new employees to $10 an hour...

On any given day, contractors and business owners pass out flyers in downtown New Orleans promising $17 to $20 an hour, plus benefits, for people willing to swing a sledgehammer or cart away stinking debris from homes and businesses devastated by Hurricane Katrina ...

"I'd say I'm paying two to three times as much as I would in normal circumstances," said Iggie Perrin, the president of Southern Electronics, a supplier in New Orleans, who has offered as much as $30 an hour when seeking salvage workers on Canal Street...

"This region is going to be going through a huge boom for the next three to five years rebuilding the coast," Bollinger said. "That's very good news for those who want work and really worrisome news for employers who have to compete with everyone else for labor."...

For Bollinger, welders are just one of his labor headaches. His company pays welders $16 to $17 an hour. "When Sheetrock layers start paying $25 an hour," he said, "I'm either going to match it or I'm out of luck...."

And the money line:

"Employees are these precious commodities right now," said John Kallenborn, president of the New Orleans region for J.P. Morgan Chase.

I immediately thought of Lew Rockwell's excellent talk on Free Markets at work following natural disasters.

We've already had the requisite claims of how wonderful Katrina will be for the economy.

I wanted to read the article to my friend, but I new this would invite a lecture on the tireless fight of the Democrats to re-instate Davis-Bacon.

So instead I enjoyed my Latte in grateful contemplation that I was at least one Senate price gouging inquiry from being limited to a Venti "Victory" Coffe.


Contact Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker is the founder of the Brownstone Institute and an independent editorial consultant.

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