Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Something Fishy Going On

WSJ editorial: Economists of every political stripe agree that a higher minimum wage will cost some low-skill workers their jobs. But don't believe us; just ask Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The House last week whooped through an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25, by a vote of 315-116. But, lo, included as part of this boon to the working man was a loophole: The new, higher wage floor applied to all of these United States and its territories -- save for the Pacific outpost of American Samoa. In the immortal words of Congressman Patrick McHenry (R., N.C.), "There's something fishy going on here."

It turns out that American Samoa has a big fish and tuna canning industry, specifically operations run by StarKist and Chicken of the Sea. Both companies are headquartered in California, and StarKist's parent is located in none other than Ms. Pelosi's own San Francisco district. So faster than you can say "middle class squeeze," Democrats rediscovered the eternal economic truth that a higher minimum wage can cost jobs and granted Samoa its reprieve.


At 1/16/2007 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it just me who think this is a longshot? The chain: Pelosi->San Francisco->Del Monte->Starkist Tuna->Samoa->Exempt from new minimum wage, looks pretty weak in my eyes.

Isn't it more likely that it's all about the GDP? Sure, American Samoa is the only territory to be excluded, and many other territories are poor, but none of them nearly as poor as Samoa. The higher minimum wage will hurt everywhere, but would probably kill Samoa.

At 1/17/2007 1:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are the "Shrimp Subsidies" still going on, where US shrimpers are being paid to compete against Vietnamese trawlers? I think this was another Democratic initiative (though I'm not sure. the republicans are not exactly paradigms of "free trade" and "open markets" these days either. everybody sells out to the highest bidder.).

At 1/17/2007 8:59 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." -P.J. O'Rourke

At 1/22/2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exceptions to legislation don't happen by accident. Someone had to ask for it - had to lobby for it. Just who was this someone do you suppose?


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