Pelosi’s Crony Capitalism

Well apparently everybody who works for minimum wage will get a pay increase except for those living in America Samoa. And ironically, the biggest employer in America Samoa? StarKist Tuna. StarKist is owned by Del Monte and is headquartered in San Francisco in Pelosi’s district. I’m sure it is a complete oversight. Oh and if you are wondering whether or not your typically cannery worker earns more than the minimum wage, the answer appears to be, “No.”

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Congress, Economics and Business, US Politics, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Much as it pains me to do it, I haven’t seen any links to Pelosi and Del Monte (the starkist tuna company owner) beyond their being in her district. I think this is an example of democratic hypocrisy (if local conditions can impact whether a minimum wage increase makes sense, then why raise the minimum wage at the federal level vs state level) and republican hypocrisy (the current minimum wage for Samoa was set with the republicans in control of congress, so if it isn’t a good idea now, what changed to from it being a good idea then).

    The real story is to follow the money. Many union labor contracts have their wages set as multiples of the minimum wage. The minimum wage legislation isn’t about helping those earning minimum wage, but a massive legislative payback for the millions of dollars of donations from the unions to the democrats.

  2. jeff b says:

    nice catch.

  3. spencer says:

    yeanotherjohn — suddenly this meme about union contracts being tied to the minimum wage is popping up all over the web.

    Any union that agreed ed to such a stupid – -from their perspective — arrangement would probably have died long ago.

    I challenge you to cite a specific union contract that has such a contract.

  4. Michael says:

    Wait a minute, did Steve just call the act of supporting legislation that benefits the people whose interests you were elected to represent “cronyism”?

  5. Steve Verdon says:

    Wait a minute, did Steve just call the act of supporting legislation that benefits the people whose interests you were elected to represent “cronyism”?

    Thats the spirit Michael, long live crony capitalism and special interest politics!

  6. Wayne says:

    I’m not sure why you consider GOP as hypocrites. Did they vote to exclude Samoa from minimum wage in the past? It boils down to if the law is going to go in affect then it should apply to all. If the GOP who voted for the increase voted against the increase by same amount a few months ago, then you have a point. If they (the individuals that voted) happen to set it five years ago and now decide to increase it, you don’t. You usually good about backing up your thoughts so I look forward to your reply.

  7. Christopher says:

    Pelosi: Typical lib. But I am being redundant.

    It would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Thank God Bush is there with his veto pen.

  8. Steven Plunk says:

    Is this a sign of the incompetence to come from the Speaker? For gosh sakes even if she wasn’t lobbied by Starkist why would an exemption be in place for their benefit knowing it could be traced back to San Francisco? Couldn’t her or her staff see the trouble coming?

    A bigger problem is now the Speaker has been exposed as not really caring about the little guy (not that the Dems ever did). The whole message this week is has been one of Dems saying a lot but not backing any of it up. Good. Some of us knew they couldn’t back up such rhetoric with real policy changes.

    Fancy Nancy is pure politico and this week has hammered that message home.

  9. Michael says:

    Thats the spirit Michael, long live crony capitalism and special interest politics!

    So what Pelosi should be doing is not looking out for her constituents? And when did Tuna packers become a special interest?

    By the way, did anyone bother to ask why American Samoa wasn’t included? I’m guessing the bill itself didn’t mention Pelosi’s desire for crony capitalism, so why was it excluded?

  10. Michael says:

    Ok, I’m going to go ahead and answer my own question. Or, rather, US Congressman Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) has already answered my question, and I’m just going to link to his answer.

    Yes, that evil, evil Nancy Pelosi, this was all part of her get-rich-quick-by-giving-favors-to-a-tuna-packing-company scheme. Surely this is on the same level as being bribed by a lobbyist, sending sexual email to minor, and giving a blow job to a gay hooker for some crystal-meth.

  11. Ted Remington says:

    According to this web site, there ARE federal minimum wages in Samoa, but they have been traditionally far below those of the rest of the United States.

    The minimum wage rates for American Samoa are set by a special industry committee (29 U.S.C. 205, 29 C.F.R. Part 511) appointed by the U.S. Department of Labor, as required by the Act.

    If you look at the minimum wage rates published therein you will find:

    Bottling $3.19/hour
    Construction $3.60/hour
    Finance and Insurance $3.99/hour
    Fish canning $3.26/hour
    Garment manufacturing $2.68/hour
    Government employees $2.91/hour
    Hotel $3.00/hour
    Petroleum marketing $3.85/hour
    Printing $3.50/hour
    Hospitals and education $3.33/hour
    Publishing $3.63/hour
    retail, wholesale, warehousing $3.10/hour
    Ship maintenance $3.51/hour
    Shipping $3.88 – $4.09/hour
    Tour and travel services $3.48/hour
    Miscellaneous $2.70/hour

    So, don’t you think that the Washington Times might have, as usual gotten its facts wrong either accidentally or (dare I say it) on purpose?

    This was a hatchet job, pure and simple. The new minimum wage law merely continued the status quo, as anyone who wanted to determine could find out with less than ten minutes internet work.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Pelosi needs to explain herself on this one…