Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pelosi shows her stupidity - wants to increase American Samoa's wages

I have studied American Samoa and its economy last year for an IPP report (business paper). I looked at its history, and where it stands in the world. They are one of our territories. They are U.S. nationals but not citizens; hence, they cannot vote but has every other privilege an American has. One of their main industries is tuna processing and they are being paid at a lower wage than mainland USA because of the cost of living. This gives employers like Del Monte the ability to employ a significant amount of the population which would otherwise go to jobs in Asia or other low-cost countries. In short, Del Monte and StarKist (yes makers of Chicken of the Sea) have been able to single handedly feed the island.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently wants this all change. She wants to increase the minimum wage laws in the area and double the cost of labor for these companies. The Samoan people have asked these companies to hire them and have had public hearings on how much they should be paid. Now Pelosi and her aides want to ruin that.

What's the risk of increasing minimum wage?

Non-voting Rep. Eni Faleomavaega said, "decrease in production or departure of one or both of the two canneries in American Samoa could devastate the local economy, resulting in massive layoffs and insurmountable financial difficulties."

The island's prominent politician has clearly said it. If you increase the labor pressures against the two tuna companies that have done so much for American Samoa, two things will happen. Either the price of tuna will increase and the two companies will probably go bankrupt because foreign tuna companies will beat its pricing, or they will simply leave the island and go to an offshore location.

Why I call this the stupidity of Pelosi

Any congressman or senator that goes along with this plan I consider stupid. Why such a harsh word? Because they are about to make a whole island suffer and a significant amount of the population will become unemployed. There are no other major employers in American Samoa. It isn't like they could just move around freely and get a job like in the mainland.

Politicians who do not take into account local culture and the local economy are stupid. Very very stupid.

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