Friday, January 18, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane

Hope you caught UMDA: We're not a buy-and-sell firm in Friday's Saipan Tribune. Hey, if you can encourage a major air carrier like Asiana to come in and make a few bucks at the same time... why not?

Besides, now they've moved on to the moribund Hotel Nikko: the last memento of Japan Airlines' messy breakup with the CNMI. Well, almost the last. There's still that white elephant across the street. We can only hope the government has learned something. Yes we can.

Glad somebody is doing more than yodeling 'more flights, more flights' and then bitching about Washington.

I Ain't Marching Anymore

But that's the thing, instead of doing what you can locally, it's easier to worry over what [has been, is being, will be] decided there. Those folks are worried about their constituencies, and, within reason, what they think is right.

Bread and circuses cost money, so any distraction is welcome. I know, let's have a (motorcade) rally. (I'd link to the Marianas Variety, too, but I don't want to have to change the link tomorrow).

Honk if you hate federalization. That word makes for great spin. Kind of a loose canon. It brings out images of the National Guard posted on every corner. No wonder those States Rights rednecks bought into it. I've been searching for a more neutral term, but no luck so far.

And people still insist on asking whether I think it's a good thing. I still answer "I dunno." The minimum wage raise was years overdue and came at precisely the worst time. I don't expect the feds to do a bangup job with immigration, so I suppose the question becomes 'can they do worse than the local government'. I dunno.

The whole idea of 'guest workers' is built on a faulty premise: that the government can interfere in labor markets without messing them up. Too many workers and the minimum wage becomes the de facto wage. Too few workers and you strangle businesses. Both sides expect the government, here or there, to have the answers. Oh Kay. I'll sell that, but I won't buy it.

BTW, there's a book making the rounds that I highly recommend: "Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy" by John Bowe. I borrowed it from brother Jas in passing. Reads quick, has interesting arguments and the part about Saipan is done pretty well. Maybe I don't buy Dick Pierce as elf and Pam Brown as pixie, but those are just quibbles.

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