2006 January 08 Sunday
How Jack Abramoff Made Labor Cheap On Saipan

Free vacation trips to Saipan assured that Congressmen would vote for importing cheap labor to Saipan.

At a New Year's Eve dinner at the Hyatt Regency, Saipan's best hotel, DeLay knew it was time to give credit where it was due. Giving the toast, the then third most powerful Republican in the US Congress declared: "When one of my closest and dearest friends, Jack Abramoff, your most able representative in Washington DC, invited me to the islands, I wanted to see first-hand the free-market success and the progress and reform you have made."

Giving his audience what they wanted to hear, he dismissed the notion that the US government was about to enforce American work practices in the far-off Pacific.

He declared that the islands' garment industry, which employed imported labour from Bangladesh, China and other countries, was a great American success story. "You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system."

Three years later, the influential congressman all but single-handedly blocked a law that would have imposed US labour standards, including paying workers the minimum wage, on the Marianas garment industry. Thanks to DeLay's manoeuvrings the issue never even reached the floor of the House of Representatives.

So a great American success story is importing lots of labor from dirt poor countries to pay that labor well below the US minimum wage. The success story is achieved by what are essentially bribes. I wonder what the average wage is in the Saipan garment industry.

If you ever wonder why America's elites defy the wishes of the majority on immigration just remember the Saipan story. Money talks.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 January 08 11:09 AM  Immigration Money Politics

Kurt said at January 8, 2006 12:55 PM:

The Saipan garment industry is a scandal that should be publicized as much as possible. This has not been covered much in the U.S. media, but articles appear from time to time in the Japanese media. These factories are sweatshops where the people are made only merginally more than what they would be paid in Bangladesh or India. There have been cases where these womens' passports are confiscated and they are not allowed to leave until they have worked a certain minimum time. This is truly a scandalous situation and, bearing in mind, this is part of U.S. sovereign territory.

As the article correctly points out, Delay and Abramoff were heavily involved in this.

Barb said at January 8, 2006 6:14 PM:

If McCain's and Kennedy's citizenship for illegal aliens passes in the Senate US will become the best military of the
third world countries. US companies will lower wages and American workers quit. And then US comapanies say that Americans don't want the jobs and hire illegal aliens for low or lower wages. Instead of US companies paying a $1 an hour in Mexico or $1 a day in China the US companies will be paying that right here in US to Americans and illegal aliens.
And with those low wages will be no Social Security.

Quequeg said at January 8, 2006 8:27 PM:

I imagine the garments say "Made In USA". People want to buy products made in the US, because they think they're supporting U.S. jobs and industry. But I just wonder how many products marked USA are made in sweatshops or by illegals.

This Saipan story really should be covered as fervently as the media covers stories about celebrities, natural disasters, missing pretty women, etc. It really symbolizes quite a bit of how far we've come from the values that our leaders preach about.

Lean, Melancholy and Beardless. said at January 9, 2006 3:45 AM:

Well, I don't know much about this Saipan story, but one thing for sure, The Japanese know exactly the right way to traet Indians and Bangladeshis.

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