Still Ticking?

By: Patti Bankson

I have a somewhat mixed review on the Democrats First 100 Hours. Although they have accomplished at least one part of their agenda already, before I talk about that, let me explain exactly how their First 100 Hours works.

One would think that once the clock starts ticking it would be as relentless in its forward march as any of the clocks in our houses, but no….

The way it works on Capitol Hill is that the clock is only ticking toward the countdown when they’re actually working on one of the items on their First 100 Hours agenda. If they stop to work on anything else, the clock stops. Wow! Wouldn’t we all like to have time constraints like that? That means that when I’m in the middle of a project – such as writing this column – and I have to stop to take the dog for a walk, answer the phone, go to the store or whatever, I can stop the clock and my deadline just keeps getting set back. In our dreams … and, in Washington, D.C.

What the new congress has done with the Minimum Wage Bill is directly tied to their “war” on what they like to call the Republican administration’s “Culture of Corruption”. The funny thing is that this exposed part of their culture of corruption. See, the bill requires all entities in the U.S. and its territories to comply; that includes Puerto Rico and the Marianna Islands and … oops! Not American Samoa. How did that happen? I know what they’re saying, but here’s what I’m saying.

The backbone of American Samoa’s private sector economy is tuna fishing and tuna processing plants. Canned tuna is their primary export. That would be canned tuna with an “S” … Star-Kist. As it happens, Star Kist is a subsidiary of Del Monte, and Del Monte is headquartered in the district that Nancy Pelosi represents, San Francisco. The people who represent Pelosi say that she has not been lobbied by Del Monte, but then, that’s what they all say, isn’t it? Not to mention that if this were still a Republican majority congress that denial wouldn’t fly … or swim, either, for that matter.

To the Democrats credit, when Republicans cried foul, Ms Pelosi said she had instructed the House Education and Labor Committee to help get the bill changed to “make sure that all of the territories have to comply with the U.S. law on minimum wage.” But, to their discredit, according to previously existing wage law, all industries in American Samoa were already required to comply with minimum wage requirements … up until the day the Democrats passed the new law. Somehow in that process, American Samoa – and only American Samoa – ended up being left out, exempt. Hmmmmm.

I know that shouldn’t surprise me, and in a way, it doesn’t surprise me. But then, no matter how cynical I may sound, there’s a part of me that is still open to surprises and still hopes to be surprised. The best surprise I can think of is that one day very soon, we voters will actually get from our elected government what we hoped for when we voted – people in government who actually do represent us and the things we believe in, starting with honesty and selfless service.

Patti Bankson invites your comments at
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