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Flash back a year.  Anti-immigrant fever was at a very high pitch in the state of Georgia.  The legislature there decided to do something about it.

Something to get those Jobs back, for actual Americans ... born in America ...

Hmmm?  How'd did that little experiment turn out?


Georgia’s New Immigration Law Leading To Crops Rotting In Farmers’ Fields

House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.
[...]


Their rationalizaton was:   Can't Americans do those (back-breaking) Immigrant Jobs?
Well, it seem we can.  But few actually do:


Farm workers: Take our jobs, please!

by Aaron Smith, staff writer  CNNMoney.com -- July 10, 2010

"Farm workers do the work that most Americans are not willing to do," said union president Arturo Rodriguez in the announcement of the campaign.

At least half a million applicants are needed to replace the immigrant workforce [500,000], so the union has posted an online application for Americans who want to work on a farm.
[...]

Since June 24, at least 4,000 people have responded to the application, said Rodriguez. Some are serious responses and others are hate mail. "Only a few dozen have really followed through with the process," he said.

Most applicants quickly lose interest once the reality sinks in that these are back-breaking jobs in triple-digit temperatures that pay minimum wage, usually without benefits, according to the union. Some small farms are not required to pay minimum wage and in 15 states farms aren't required to offer workers' compensation.
[...]


Half a million farm workers needed in GA, to replace those expelled.

Only 4,000 Americans applied.   500,000 needed.

Only about 30 or so actually showed up to pick the crops, that stocks our neighborhood shelves.


Ooops!  Augusta, we have a problem.



The Tea Party zealots in Georgia instead of admitting failure and letting the dirt-poor Migrant workers back into their state, decided instead to double down on their original Market-failure solution.

This time they look to be going the indentured-servant route -- quite literally:


Farmworker Justice and NAACP Condemn Use of Georgia Immates for Onion Harvest

posted by immigrantworkerjustice.org -- Apr 23, 2012

From our allies at Farmworker Justice and NAACP:

Use of Prisoners for Vidalia Onion Harvest Underlines Agricultural Labor Problems:

ATLANTA – The NAACP and advocates for the rights of farmworkers today condemned the state of Georgia’s use of prison inmates to harvest Vidalia onions in response to claims of an agricultural labor shortage.  Last week amidst complaints from growers demanding more workers, the Georgia Department of Corrections sent transitional inmates from Smith State Prison to work for an onion grower in Glennville.

This practice is shocking and regressive,” said Edward O. Dubose, President of the NAACP Georgia State Conference. “The fact that the state is resorting to forced labor to fix economic problems created by our failed immigration policies tells us that something has gone horribly wrong here in Georgia.”
[...]


Only one or two problems with this "free market" $0-wage Conservative solution.

Exploiting a publicly maintained "resource" for purely private gains, come to mind.

Manpower and skill levels shortages are liable to end up giving GA farmers the same "rotting" results, this time too.

Oh well, such is the hidden cost of Tea Party ignorance.  When will a pinnacle society, such as our own, ever learn ...

that Immigrants do the work that few Americans will  ???


(Far, far fewer Americans than what's needed to actually get the thankless job done.)



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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:48:38 PM PDT

  •  if you need a few more nuts and bolts (5+ / 0-)


    to show how this Tea-tainted-solution, fails in the real market world,

    check out his economic analysis, for those common sense reasons:


    Georgia's Harsh Immigration Law Costs Millions in Unharvested Crops

    by Megan McArdle, theAtlantic -- Jun 21 2011

    [...]
    The economics here aren't particularly complicated, [...]

    It goes like this. If you're not going to let illegal immigrants do the jobs they are currently being hired to do, then farmers will have to raise wages to replace them. Since farmers are taking a risk in hiring immigrant workers, you can bet they were getting a significant deal on wage costs relative to "market wages". I put market wages here in quotations, because it's quite possible that the wages required to get workers to do the job are so high that it's no longer profitable for farmers to plant the crops in the first place. The simple labor market supply and demand curves below illustrate exactly what I'm talking about.

    Here the leftward shift in the labor supply curve when moving to a market with immigrants to one without reflects the fact that for any given wage, there are less people willing to do the job. If the supply curve shifts far enough to the left, the equilibrium quantity of labor becomes negative, meaning that farmers will hire zero workers. If workers are needed to run a farm, then zero workers is the same as zero crops, and zero farm. Some labor may be replaced with capital, but in other cases the farms might just shut down.
    [...]


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 06:55:24 PM PDT

  •  the total Tea Party bill (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palantir


    put on Georgia Farmers' tab last year, was hardly "peanuts" ...


    Georgia Farmers Face Another Worker Shortage Because Of Harmful Immigration Law

    by Amanda Peterson Beadle, thinkprogress.org -- Apr 13, 2012

    [...]
    But if Deal and Georgia Republicans had stopped to consider how the state’s anti-immigrant law would affect workers and employers before they approved it, then the state could have avoided more than $800 million in estimated farm losses last year. So far, it looks as if Georgia’s farmers could lose just as much this year.
    [...]


    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:00:53 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't do that work for 50K a year, because (6+ / 0-)

    it would kill me. Lots of people would perish in those conditions, it's unbelievable what people do to bring us our fresh vegetables.

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:11:51 PM PDT

  •  I've lived in Texas for 28 years. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, palantir

    I have yet to see a white framing crew building a house. You simply cannot "steal jobs" that so few are willing to do.

    Texas has a lot of faults but it hasn't had the horrible overreaction to immigration issues like other states have. There are no headless bodies in our deserts and the only crops failing in the fields are due to drought.


    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:12:12 PM PDT

    •  I often say (7+ / 0-)

      we have an "illegal employer" problem,

      not an "illegal worker" problem.


      Refusing to pay a fair "living wage" is at the core of this so-called problem.


      What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
      -- Maslow ...... my list.

      by jamess on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:17:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thats really bizarre! Racist too!! (3+ / 0-)
      I have yet to see a white framing crew building a house. You simply cannot "steal jobs" that so few are willing to do.
      Thats complete BS and racist too. White people are totally ready to take any construction jobs!! Ive seen all kinds of whites working in every phase of construction. Ive seen crews of framers predominatly white or all white everywhere Ive worked.
      the notion that white people won't do construction work of any kind is flatout BS, bizarre and racist
      I worked at professional carpentry and construction for decades and I'm white

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:02:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not racist, bizarre, or BS. (0+ / 0-)

        I never said there weren't any white framing crews building houses; just that where I live I've never seen one.

        And don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything about "any construction jobs." I specifically referenced framing crews. So if you're comprehension skills were nearly as good as your jump to conclusion skills you would notice that I never made any claim or notion that "white people won't do construction jobs of any kind." Those are your words, not mine.

        Oh, and btw, I'm also heavily involved in home building. I design the damned things and often oversee construction. So when I say I have yet to see a white framing crew on the hundreds of jobsites I've stepped foot on over the years, it's not BS.  

        Your experience may be different than mine but it doesn't make mine racist, bizarre, or bullshit. So back off with your false accusations sparky.


        Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

        by jayden on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:45:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Its all 3, sparky (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirtandiron
          I've lived in Texas for 28 years.
          I have yet to see a white framing crew building a house. You simply cannot "steal jobs" that so few are willing to do.
          I'm going  to let that stand where other people can see it too. Its that last  sentence in particular

          Happy just to be alive

          by exlrrp on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 05:08:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I see a lot of white guys framing around here n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:50:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Roofing, Landscape, Ditch Digging, Rough Framing (6+ / 0-)

    paving etc. work that Americans "don't want" to do in several places I've lived, they are doing all around me. Americans who look like tea partiers.

    We're rustbelt urban so we don't have field work, and so I can't speak to that.

    I see I'm going to have to take a couple days off and shoot pictures.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 07:30:23 PM PDT

  •  So the solution is raise wages (6+ / 0-)

    and improve working conditions. There is no particular reason why farm workers can't work in the shade, all it would take is some kind of portable awning rolled along above the rows currently being picked. It would cost money to buy and handle. There is no particular reason why workers can't have breaks and drinking water, it just costs money. Triple digit temperatures? We had those at a Valley folk festival a few years ago, so we got these neat little pump pressurized water spray bottles. You wore them clipped to your belt and they lowered the surrounding temperature a good 20 degrees. But those too cost money.

    The problem is we want to harvest our crops using 16th century technology: gloves, hand held sickles and large baskets with shoulder or back straps. Sometimes without the gloves and hand held sickles.  We also want to pay 16th century wages: barely above subsistence.

    Farmers complain that if they paid competitive wages and provided modern working conditions, they'd go out of business, and in a race to the bottom cutthroat capitalist system they'd have a point: a farmer in the next county, the next state, the next country, would cut corners, and undersell the produce.

    So: we avoid the cutthroat capitalist race to the bottom system. We establish a set of working standards and wages, and enforce them nationwide, we slap tariffs on imports to keep home grown produce competitive, and we provide some sort of planning to avoid gluts and shortages, possibly through subsidies.

    Physically possible, sure. Politically possible? heh. There's a reason nobody likes Congress except the lobbyists.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:08:16 PM PDT

    •  OR...drive other wages down by sending jobs (6+ / 0-)

      overseas (create scarcity) and eliminating unions as a viable protector of worker rights through divide/conquer strategies (public vs private workers). Then add to the mix by passing right-to-work-for-less legislation.  At the same time remove/eliminate social safety "nets" so workers MUST work for whatever owners will pay and under whatever conditions they wish to impose.    

      All guaranteed to produce would-be Robber Barons dream scenario!

      Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

      by ranton on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 09:26:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather not have kids (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, Dirtandiron, ranton

        grow up in a post-apocalypse Mad-Max world, which is where we seem to be heading right now.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:31:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am afraid those who vote against their own (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Orinoco

          self-interests will only snap out of their religious-corporate-media-induced cultism when they actually live in the kind of country/world which would result from the leaders and ideology they support...BIG SIGH!

          Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

          by ranton on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 11:35:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But that would be so "non-competitive" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, Orinoco

      and would go against the spirit of the times, wouldn't it. We must think globally and be ready to live on less than anyone else we can find who might want to do whatever kind of jobs there are.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:51:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would be anti-competitive (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        billmosby

        if you define competitive as the kind of cut-throat capitalism that is the cause of so much of our dysfunction. If we can get the rest of the world to join us in raising up a new middle class, that's fine. If we cannot, then we insulate ourselves with tariffs and treaties.

        Competition adapts to whatever landscape it finds itself in. At present, our economic landscape selects for the best bullies and thieves. Well, we might not like that, but the Middle Ages shows us that it is sustainable.

        If we want to avoid the short, nasty and brutish life most lived in those times, we must do the hard work of re-imagining our economic landscape so that competition supports equality and the commons.  

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:00:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not too hard for me to re-imagine it, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Orinoco

          That was the world I lived in up until sometime around the mid-90s. There had been rumblings of the globalized world of today before then but it hadn't really gotten rolling yet.

          Now it's almost 20 years on, and there are so many people who never knew that more rational, functional world. And they are the ones who will have to imagine it almost from scratch with no memories to reassure them that such a life is even possible.

          With some non-negligible percentage of them following Ron Paul, I wonder how that will go.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 01:06:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We can ship the kids off (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            billmosby

            one by one, or in small groups, to a sustainable eco commune in Costa Rica for a few months. If we accidentally send some who want to go Galt, well, there's plenty of jungle to wander off in.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 03:15:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Or just narrow the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Orinoco

              choices their iPads have for communication. My 30-year-old sons live in cyberspace with the rest of their friends, who are all present all the time in that world. Sometimes I wonder if the basic paradigms of their lives resemble mine in any way at all...

              Moderation in most things.

              by billmosby on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 03:33:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Farm work was always done by the poor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    Farm work was always done by the poorest of the poor.  Look at old photos of farm workers and you'll see destitute people, white or black, probably mainly depending on the region of our country.  My father told of him harvesting almonds by clubbing the tree trunks then picking the almonds that dropped off the tree from tarps placed on the ground under the trees.  Hard work,  low, low pay, hot weather.  Over time these poorly paid workers have been replaced by brown workers in most areas.  Increased pay will help attract U.S. workers.  Mechanization will help, at higher cost to the farmer in some cases, but then we end up with produce like the tasteless tomatoes bred to avoid bruises when machine picked.

    The U.S. needs an effective guest worker program.  We need a program where workers from Mexico and other countries come here to work the fields and orchards, get good pay and decent living conditions, return to their homes and families at the end of the farm season, and may return to the same farms next year.

    For other work, pay is the answer.  I read about a processing plant on the East Coast (chicken or seafood) where ICE took away the immigrant workers, the owners were forced to pay more, and locals were glad to get the work at the higher pay.  We consumers pay for everything, but a few cents more per chicken is a price well worth paying.  Local workers would like to have the construction jobs...framing, drywall, roofing, etc....if the pay is worth the sweat.

  •  what's funny (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Dirtandiron

    is how abruptly a job becomes one Americans won't do.  One year, it's all Anglos doing the work.  The next year, it's all Mexicans.  Strange how the job just suddenly becomes too hard.

    all morals are relative, but some are more relative than others.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 10:42:03 PM PDT

  •  I grew up on a small family farm in Arizona. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Dirtandiron

    We could do all our work ourselves as we only raised a few hundred watermelons to sell at our roadside stand but I worked on nearby farms to get some spending money.

    Back then most of the farm workers I saw were not hispanic. Some were black, some white, ( a lot were migrant workers from Oklahoma as I recall.) a very few spanish. One farmer I picked cotton for would save some short rows for us neighborhood kids to pick as the professional cottonpickers didn't like the short rows. He started planting some cotton with wider rows so the "cottonpicking machines" could pick them. It meant lower yields per acre due to more dirt between rows so the machines could fit but over all the mechanical pickers were cheaper than paying human cotton pickers by the pound.

    I don't remember all that many hispanic workers until I picked oranges a few years later. Someone told me that was because big farm companies had found the spanish workers would work for less and it gave them an economic advantage to hire them.

    By then many farms had cheap adobe (mud and grass mixed together) huts in their back forty to house (hide) the many times 'not legal' workers. By hiring them they could do things American workers knew to be against the law or something they did not have to put up with. Since the spanish workers could not read English and their kids didn't go to schools they just stayed in the huts and worked for less then was legal pay. I heard some of the farms even charged the workers rent for the housing that had no electricty or running water.

    I have also read that while companies say they need the workers who will work hard at the low wages to make a profit that when industries are forced to pay legal wages they find ways to mechanise more and still stay competive. It just takes time and in this case the dumb rethugs didn't think that through or do any research since their moneybags handlers didn't give them that option.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Thu Jun 21, 2012 at 11:22:27 PM PDT

  •  There used to be some jobs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, Dirtandiron

    that were done by high school kids during summer vacation, when I was growing up.  We used to pick apples and peaches and corn, and work in fast food restaurants.  There were special wages allowed for this summer youth
    labor.  The kids made some spending money, and learned the value of hard work, and the farmers got the labor they needed.

    Now these jobs are considered appropriate for adults who need to support themselves and their families on them.  How did this happen?

  •  Americans will do those jobs, if they pay a living (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess

    wage. That is, that will pay rent on an apartment and enable the person to buy food, and obtain some kind of transportation to and from work, food shopping, etc.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 06:44:10 AM PDT

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