I'm A Capitalist...But
This just in WaPo pleasures Western Growers!
Why don't they just say what they mean? (we love slaves!)
In the above referenced article we learn...
With the lettuce harvest beginning, farmers in the $1 billion winter vegetable industry are panicking about getting their crops out of the ground. Vegetable growers estimate they could be 32,000 workers short of the 54,000 they need for the winter harvest, which runs until March. Last year, local farmers left hundreds of acres of lettuce in the fields because they lacked the manpower to harvest it.
Worker shortages have swept the Western agriculture industry, bringing $300 million in losses to raisin growers in California's San Joaquin Valley in September and causing consternation about this winter's harvest from the Christmas tree farms of Oregon to the melon fields of Arizona.
Cuz', you know how we be lovin' the slave labor in the ole' USA.
Farmers in the west must have the same PR people as Air America which, as you'll recall, recently got the New York Times to publish a major puff piece on the ailing radio network instead of covering its myriad legal problems. Well, today's Washington Post contains what can only have been a press release from the Western Growers Association. The article is essentially a series of quotes from farmers and their lobbyists on how they can't find enough servile labor to work on their plantations, and demanding that Congress procure a work force for them. The only dissent is a couple of sentences from the United Farm Workers, whining about low wages but supporting the farmers' call for an amnesty and guestworker program -- a typical absurdity from the useless UFW, since mass immigration is the reason for the low wages to begin with. Apparently the "reporter" was unable to find anyone to ask whether it's a viable business model for farmers to rely on 19th century technology and work practices, and then invest money in lobbyists instead of engineers designing new harvest machinery.
Mark Krikorian @ The Corner
So, wait. Could he be suggesting that these growers aren't sad pathetic victims? Aren't they being abused by our desire to see border enforcement taken seriously?
But wait, there's more...
A reader suffers from some common misconceptions about immigration and agriculture: "Do you want to depend on foreign food imports to feed the U.S.A.? Because that cheap foreign labor and state subsidized agriculture is already hurting the U.S. farmer. You better look at the big picture quick! You think our citizens are pissed about foreign oil dependence, think what they will do if they go to the grocery store and the shelves are empty?" In fact, no immigrant, or anyone else, ever touches the corn, wheat, soy beans, etc. that account for the bulk of farming -- foreign labor is concentrated in the harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables. And if you look at the actual numbers , you'd see that since labor accounts for such a small part of the retail price fruits and vegetables, giving farm workers a 40 percent raise would increase grocery costs for the typical American consumers by $8 a year. Eight dollars. A year.
Damn you Mark Krikorian! Damn you and all your facts. I won't listen, (hands covering ears, la-la-la-la-la).
As to the title of this piece. I am a monster capitalist, I think capitalism is the best possible system in the world, bar none. However, I also recognize that capitalism is as good or bad as the people who have their hands on the steering wheel of industry. If those people are short-sighted or, dare I say, stupid, they might need a little help to do the right thing.
Early on in our nations history we are replete with examples of individuals who simply had no heart. Or again to put it simply, were skin flint bastards who'd sell their mom for a buck.
I am reminded of George Mortimer Pullman. Mr. Pullman created one of the first planned communities in Chicago for his workers. All was fine until the company hit hard times and Pulman had to lay people off and slash salaries. Did Pullman do anything to help his employees through this time, ummm....no.
Rather he cut salaries in half and insisted his employees continue to pay the same rent. Again to be clear, he was an asshole.
I think capitalism is great but, sometimes capitalists need a kick in the teeth to move into the future and see a new paradigm.
Let's get on the stick farmers and figure out new ways to do what we need to do without the crutch of slave labor. It's the right thing to do, and the time is now.
h/t The Bernouli Effect
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