Rooting for Failure
1/15/2007 9:43:59 AM - Rich Galen
/>The new Democratic majority in the House is pretending to
accomplish a bunch of things during the first 100 hours of the
As the Congress opened at noon on January 4th, you might think the
first 100 hours would have come to an end at 4 PM on January 8th -
100 hours later.
Silly child. The first 100 hours is actually the first 100
LEGISLATIVE hours which, at the current rate, will end some time
around July 11th.
Nevertheless the Dems are punching bills through at a high rate of
speed. One of them was an increase in the minimum wage rate which,
over the next couple of years will rise from the current $5.15 per
hour to $7.25 per hour by mid-2009.
Ok, you can argue whether that is a good or a bad idea based upon
theories you learned in Econ 315 in college.
But, it turns out that in the rush to get the minimum wage boost
to the floor, the Democrats exempted workers on American Samoa
where the minimum wage starts at $2.63 per hour.
American Samoa is, according to the historyofnations.net website:
"An unincorporated and unorganized territory of the US;
administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, US Department of
American Samoa has a representative to the US Congress (Eni
Faleomavaega) who has no vote. From that standpoint, American
Samoa has exactly the same status in the US House as the District
It's principal administrative area is Pago Pago which is
According to the Department of Labor:
Canned tuna processing is by far the largest private-sector
employer in American Samoa. Many of the other private-sector jobs
provide goods or services to the tuna processors. Moreover, the
economic growth of many other private-sector employers in the
consumer retail and service sectors is tied to tuna industry
The two biggest tuna processing companies in American Samoa are
StarKist and Chicken of the Sea. StarKist is owned by Del Monte
foods. Del Monte foods is located in San Francisco, California the
home district of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Although tuna packers make $3.26 per hour, that is still -
according to my calculator - $1.89 below what a tuna packer
actually working in San Francisco for Del Monte would have to be
paid under US law.
The American Samoan government is protesting that the lower
minimum wage has to be preserved otherwise the jobs will move
Oh, really? And this is different from what employers in
Mississippi, or southern Ohio, or West Virginia are facing Â how?
Exempting Del Monte from the minimum wage is just as much an
earmark as anything pushed through by Randy "Duke" Cunningham
Pelosi's office immediately claimed she had not known about the
American Samoan exemption and was opposed to it.
That leads us to two points:
1. This is what happens when you shove major legislation through
the House without proper committee hearings and minority party
participation. How do we know this? Because the DEMOCRATS
COMPLAINED ABOUT IT FOR 12 YEARS!
2. Unless Nancy Pelosi has hired the Oompa Loompas from Willy
Wonka's chocolate factory to write legislation, it strains
credulity that the bill drafters were unaware of the effect this
was going to have on a major corporation headquartered in the
Tuna packers on American Samoa are, on their own, not crucial to
the health of the US economy. However, this episode shows that the
Democrats are a long way from cleaning up abuses of privilege in
The very issue on which they ran and won.