Uncle Sam decides to help Samoa

Last week, Steve did a post on the effects of the federal government’s recent requirement that businesses in American Samoa must pay employees the federal minimum wage.  In 2007, Chicken of the Sea closed it’s plant, laying off some 2000 employees, and in May of this year, Starkist announced that it will lay off between 600 and 800 employees.  Given the size of American Samoa, that’s a large amount of workers.

So, when I saw an article in today’s paper about the federal government trying to fix the situation, I thought, great, the government will loosen the minimum wage standards in Samoa.  After all, the General Accountability Office found,

that worker support for the minimum wage had ‘dwindled’.  Samoan workers apparently would rather have a secure job at $3 or $4 an hour than no job at $7.25 per hour.

If you, too, were cheering this change of heart, read on.

Starkist is operating at a loss, so, taking advantage of a business tax credit to remain in American Samoa is of no value to it.  Instead, tucked inside yet another democratic spending bill, Congress has added an $18 million give away to American Samoa.

Without this money…Starkist will be forced to close it operations in American Samoa and, if this happens, the Territory’s economy, which is barely hanging by a thread, will collapse.

So, rather than fix the law that caused the problem to begin with, the government’s solution to everything seems to be to pass yet another law (using your tax dollars) to minimize the damage caused by the first law.

What a brilliant idea.

Posted in ,


The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Delta on June 1, 2010 at 11:51 am

    >>tucked inside yet another democratic spending bill


  2. BEA on June 2, 2010 at 5:39 am

    Please…Uncle Sam…stop helping!!!

  3. Dimsdale on June 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    "Genius!"  The Democrats in Congress will "fix" this problem and drive StarKist (and the jobs) away from regions where they have legislative control to countries where they have absolutely no control.


    "We're the government and we are here to help you":  The sign that announces the on ramp to the road to hell.

  4. David R on June 2, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Does anybody agree that a more basic question is why there's an American Samoa in the first place for the Democrats to mess with ? Do we need to deprive them their God-given rights to control their own destinies? Liberty for all.


The website's content and articles were migrated to a new framework in October 2023. You may see [shortcodes in brackets] that do not make any sense. Please ignore that stuff. We may fix it at some point, but we do not have the time now.

You'll also note comments migrated over may have misplaced question marks and missing spaces. All comments were migrated, but trackbacks may not show.

The site is not broken.