Thursday, October 05, 2006


HAL gets smeared everyday for its freedom to charge what it wants. A lot of people don't like that freedom. But in a market that is only open to domestic competition, HAL is the only institution to make air travel to AS a viable business.

But could the ASG run the airlines better, and how would we treat the ASG if it operated under the same conditions as the private sector? It's not hard to see how this scenario would play out. We can just look at how the ASG runs the government today.

An ASG airline would spend most its money on personnel and salaries than on much needed equipment and services. An ASG airline would spend money on things other than providing air travel like a Political Status Commission and all its learned men, a Veteran's memorial, a 100% increase in Fono allowances, a golf course, a government hotel and so on and so on.

An ASG airline would, because of all of the above, fall short in funding for its essential functions and then claim that the only solution to solving their budget woes is more money. An ASG airline would then come before taxpayers with a big stick and say, "give me more." Property taxes, fat taxes, alcohol and cigarette taxes, bottle taxes, excise taxes and anything-that's-not-popular taxes.

Worse yet, the ASG airline would fly to Washington and cry to Uncle Sam for more money in the form of low-interest loans or grants or both. Or they may put telecommunication consumers and government retirees on the hook with a $20 billion bond loan.

All the while, an ASG airline couldn't account and audit its own finances. Investors would take their money elsewhere leaving the ASG airline without capital and forcing it into bankruptcy. The ASG airline's accounting would be so fraudulent that it would make Enron look like an angel by comparison.

Such faulty accounting would rightly bring charges against ASG airline CEO Togiola and excuses such as "things are getting better after so many years" won't cut it. He and his administration would see prison time for failing their fiduciary duties.

I think American Samoa needs to wake up.

HAL is the best we can get out of domestic competitors. ASG likes to pretend that it knows the airline business better than HAL, but look at how the Togiola administration and the Fono run the government. If ASG were a private company, a lot of politicians would be in jail because they wouldn't have their political immunity shielding them from their actions or the lack thereof.

But the people are starting to recognize this flagrant hypocrisy of our government. Because of this hypocrisy, people are beginning to question whether the Fa'asamoa serves the people or just lines politicians' pockets with benefits from the federal gravy train. This, not free speech, is eroding our culture.

Nevertheless, there is a looming financial crisis ahead of us folks. The federal government has nearly $9 trillion in debt and trillions in unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare obligations. But instead of making us more independent of federal funding that will disappear, our politicians love the status quo and only want to pork it up.

A military base in the Great Manu'a, where our people once prided themselves of their independence from Tonga, (Western) Samoa and Tutuila, demonstrates the change in attitude and the times.

I wonder what Tuimanu'a Elisara would think of our politicians today.


At 3:34 PM , Blogger Stuart K. Hayashi said...

Hey Talifantastic!

At your request, I will provide the other side's rebuttal.

First of all, why do you incessantly insist on comparing private companies with government?

The fatal flaw of that line of reasoning is this: you are comparing apples to oranges.

Business is business and government is government.

You chastise government for running at losses when businesses make profits. Well, so what? That's like saying oranges are bad because they are not apples.

So what if governments don't make profits? No sane person expects them to.

Government is, by its nature, not-for-profit. It exists to serve the public good. Government is, in you words, Public Service. It is, as you put it, Sacrifice.

And what gets sacrificed in government? The selfish profit motive. Since government is public service and sacrifice, you should be grateful that it doesn't make a profit.

Do you know why government doesn't profit? Because it's not designed to. It's not designed for that kind of selfishness. It's designed to serve the common good of all. And when Public Servants serve the Public, they have to serve the public as a whole, because you can't please every single whining individual citizen.

You can fairly criticize a business for failing to act like how a business should. And you can fairly critize a government for not acting like a how a government should.

But it is not fair to criticize a government for not acting like a business when a government was never supposed to ask like a business in the first place. You might as well criticize a horror movie for not being a romantic comedy.


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