I don't think I made my point. My point is that people don't buy much on minimum wage. Economy argument picks up from that premise. A.A. This is an example of not only how disconnected Bush is from things like working for money, but also from what drives the economic engine of this country, i.e., the middle class. Our largest export (what we sell to bring money into the country) is agricultural products (NOT like a third world country; our high tech agri business is the world's breadbasket), yet he and his Republican friends in Congress don't see fit to make sure our agri export ports keep running. Agri business has to now scramble to ship from less convenient ports. In the absence of other manufacturing products like TV's, telephones, etc. to sell overseas (done now largely by China and other countries), our economic clout in the world is from the middle class buying products manfuctured in foreign countries. If those countries don't sell, those countries don't have money to pay their workers, etc. so they could buy stuff. In the same way, the money we get from exporting agri products (and software and other goods, but agriculture is one-half of what we sell) goes into the economy. That money is absorbed by our middle class, who buys China's toasters and so on with it. The middle class is squeezed with high oil prices, leaving less money to buy goods. China's best customer is losing its power. Worse, China is creating its own middle class to buy its products, potentially making us irrelevant as the world's best consumer, plus they're competing with us for oil. Our economy is getting zapped left and right. That's why I've been harping that N.O. is about far more than race. It's about our economy. I got around to reading last week's Time last night and they quote the Stratfor article that was posted here. They also use the statistic that I had heard that N.O. is our largest port, sixth in the world. I had not read that article until I saw it here. Where NPR got that information I don't know (which a friend told me about). My comparing it to a nuclear attack was also original at the time, corroborated by Stratfor. The pictures in the Time article surprised even me. Anyone who thinks all those people had to do was walk out if they were stuck there might be well advised to look at them. Getting back to Bush and the economy, Bush can't possibly be keeping wages low to keep inflation down, first because none of his actions to date show that he has the first inkling about the economy, and also because, among other factors, rising energy and increased shipping costs that will be passed on to the consumer will most likely spearhead inflation. It's not just Bush. The people in Congress are just as complicit, maybe even more complicit, in giving away Medicare to pharma, not giving our ports priority and so on. Still, Bush is the leader, setting the tone for what goes on. One ray of light in all this gloom might be that agri business gives Bush and his cronies a lot of money (remember "ADM, supermarket to the world"? They all but own Congress along with pharma.) One likes to think they'll thump on him if their grain begins to spoil because shipping it is impeded or if increased shipping costs make them less competitive in the world. Actually, Bush is a lame duck, it doesn't matter to him what he does. It's Congress who has to be reelected. But that will have to be seen. Also, China has to feed its population, which it's finding it difficult to do, so it might become our biggest customer for our biggest product, food. Last point, I'm wondering if Robert Paul thought Portland is one of our biggest ports because they export lumber. Lumber is one of our bigger export products too. Andy Amago Best, Marlena in Missouri Rep. George Miller: Bush Proves How Far Removed He Is Fri Sep 9, 8:23 PM ET Just when you thought it couldn?t get any worse, President Bush proved once again just how far removed he and his Administration are from the life experiences of most Americans. The President issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it possible for federal contractors to pay extremely low wages to workers hired for the Gulf Coast rebuilding. Bush accomplished this by suspending the 1931 Davis-Bacon law, which says that federal contractors must pay their workers a ?prevailing wage? on construction projects. Contrary to the misinformation coming from the right wing ? that prevailing wages are actually high ?union wages,? as John Fund wrote on The Huffington Post last week ? the truth is that the prevailing wage is just the average wage for a specific job function in a local area. In parts of the Gulf Coast, these wages for construction workers can be low ? even as low as $7, $8, or $9 an hour.