When news broke that the House hourly minimum-wage increase to $7.25 did not include the territory of American Samoa, home to large employers StarKist Tuna and Chicken of the Sea, Speaker Nancy Pelosi assured reporters that the bill would be changed. It would include American Samoa, as well as the Northern Mariana Islands, before it is sent to the president.It must be that Queen Nancy only cares for the little people and Samoans are famously big and burly. Of course, here's the best part:
American Samoa may initially have escaped the minimum-wage increases because the San Francisco-headquartered Del Monte Foods, owner of Star-Kist Tuna, is in Ms. Pelosi's district. But now Speaker Pelosi has been shamed into backing down.
There should be general rejoicing in American Samoa on hearing that everyone would get a raise. But not so. The governor of American Samoa, Togiola Tulafono, stated that increasing the minimum wage "would kill the economy," and the Samoan congressional delegate, Eni Faleomavaega, said that it would devastate the local tuna industry.It's hard news for the folks in Samoa and Pelosi's district, but Queen Nancy can try for a win with the ecoweenies who don't really like tuna fishing anyhow, just like they don't like logging, factory farming, oil drilling, and just about everything but nut and berry gathering in isolated thickets. Personally, I'm waiting for the Donks to declare that everyone in the US (legally or illegally) should get as much per year as Teddy Kennedy does from his trust funds just by staying home and watching PBS! Where's my check, Nancy?
A quick look at American Samoan local wage rates tells us why. The current hourly minimum wage for fish canning and processing is $3.26. The minimum wage for government employees, who undoubtedly have an easier job than tuna canners, is $2.91. Shipping has the highest minimum wage, at $4.09. Garment manufacturers get the lowest, at $2.68 an hour.
Fans of minimum-wage increases say the hikes have no effect on the economy or on jobs, but American Samoans are smarter. They know that industries are going elsewhere if they have to pay $7.25 an hour. With higher unemployment in American Samoa, the American taxpayer will be called upon to come to the rescue.