Friday, January 12, 2007

UPDATED: Tuna and minimum wage

Updates at the end of the post. From Neal Boortz:
As part of their first 100 hours plan, Democrats are pushing a hike in the minimum wage. It's going to happen, with several Republicans and even President Bush prepared to go along with it. But did you know that American Samoa...a Democrat being exempted from the minimum wage increase?

And just what are the reasons being given for this? According to the chairman of the House, Education and Labor Committee, Democrat George Miller of California, the economy of American Samoa doesn't have the ability to handle the United States' minimum wage and should be exempt. Nice try...want to know the real reason? The answer is the tuna industry and like the product itself, this one stinks to high heaven.

The average wage for Tuna workers in American Samoa is $3.60 an hour. One of the biggest employers there is Starkist Tuna...which is headquartered in San Francisco...Nancy Pelosi land. Anybody care to take a closer look at the campaign contributions of Democrats in the last election? One thing is for sure, the delegate from American Samoa, a Democrat, is loaded down with campaign cash from the tuna industry.

So there you have it...a double standard. On the one hand, we're told you can't raise a family on $5.15 an hour and the minimum wage must be raised to $7.25 an hour. But for the right price in campaign contributions, the tuna industry in American Samoa can avoid the minimum wage altogether...they just have to stuff the pockets of the right Democrats. Where is the media on this one?

Will the press be taking a closer look at Nancy Pelosi's campaign finance disclosures? Probably not. But somebody will.
So much for "working families", huh? The minimum wage increase may be bad for business in America, but that sure beats harming a business interest in American Samoa, doesn't it?

UPDATED (1/12/07 - 11:43 a.m. EST): The normally linguine-spined GOP hits back at the hypocrisy. From the Washington Times:
House Republicans yesterday declared "something fishy" about the major tuna company in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco district being exempted from the minimum-wage increase that Democrats approved this week.

"I am shocked," said Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican and his party's chief deputy whip, noting that Mrs. Pelosi campaigned heavily on promises of honest government. "Now we find out that she is exempting hometown companies from minimum wage. This is exactly the hypocrisy and double talk that we have come to expect from the Democrats."
One of the biggest opponents of the federal minimum wage in Samoa is StarKist Tuna, which owns one of the two packing plants that together employ more than 5,000 Samoans, or nearly 75 percent of the island's work force. StarKist's parent company, Del Monte Corp., has headquarters in San Francisco, which is represented by Mrs. Pelosi. The other plant belongs to California-based Chicken of the Sea.

"There's something fishy going on here," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, North Carolina Republican.

During the House debate yesterday on stem-cell research, Mr. McHenry raised a parliamentary inquiry as to whether an amendment could be offered that would exempt American Samoa from stem-cell research, "just as it was for the minimum-wage bill."

A clearly perturbed Rep. Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat who was presiding, cut off Mr. McHenry and shouted, "No, it would not be."

"So, the chair is saying I may not offer an amendment exempting American Samoa?" Mr. McHenry pressed.

"The gentleman is making a speech and will sustain," Mr. Frank shouted as he slammed his large wooden gavel against the rostrum.
I really didn't need to know where Barney Frank's been slamming down his "large wooden" anything! "Don't ask, don't tell!" or so I thought.

UPDATED (1/12/07 - 11:49 a.m. EST): Also found in that same WT article is this nugget of idiocy from the GOP:
Some Republicans who voted in favor of the minimum-wage bill were particularly irritated to learn yesterday -- after their vote -- that the legislation did not include American Samoa.

"I was troubled to learn of this exemption," said Rep. Mark Steven Kirk, Illinois Republican. "My intention was to raise the minimum wage for everyone. We shouldn't permit any special favors or exemptions that are not widely discussed in Congress. This is the problem with rushing legislation through without full debate."
They didn't learn of the Samoa exemption until AFTER their vote? Did they not even read the freakin' bill on which they were voting before they cast their votes?? If you ever needed proof that politicians value style over substance, there it is.