Thursday, July 25, 2013

Random News Generator- American Samoa

American Samoa, in case you've forgotten or weren't clued in by the name, is an American territory. Sends someone to Congress and everything, albeit in a nonvoting role. As such, it is dependent on Congressional action to get itself funded and budgeted. Which lately has become a problem, because when Congress opted to let the sequester happen- the across-the-board budget cuts- that meant American Samoa had its budget cut along with everybody else. On Tuesday, the Samoan government submitted a budget of $456 million, down close to $40 million and 8% from last year. Some of the cuts were able to come from phasing out earthquake and tsunami recovery residual expenditures from 2009, but then it had to start getting painful.

The LBJ Medical Center in Pago Pago, the only full-fledged hospital in American Samoa, and which regularly relies on donations and subsidies, will be getting $6 million in local and Congressional subsidies to beef up the $44 million budget it'll have to work with, but it's not enough to keep six managerial positions from being eliminated. Two elementary schools are merging with an eye on merging others as well (at the same time that teachers are beginning to be required to have bachelor's degrees). A government plane has been converted to commercial ownership by Inter Island Air. Because it's expensive to import food from mainland regions, citizens turn to low-cost fast food, which in turn has triggered a staggering 75% obesity rate, which in turn has caused Samoa Air, based in Apia in the other Samoa but which serves American Samoa, to start charging passengers by the pound.

Samoans could use some pounds. Because they're not getting the dollars.

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