October 21, 2009

Good News! Annual harvest worker shortage solved

This is the first autumn in memory when we haven't been deluged with articles about how we're all going to starve because of looming shortages of illegal aliens to pick crops.

Remember the Pearanoia of 2006 when the New York Times, among others, ran a front page article about how pear growers in Lake County, CA couldn't find enough pear pickers (at the wages they felt like paying)? But in 2009, Google News finds only one mention all October of Tamar Jacoby, chief lobbyist for Guest Peasant Programs.

Congratulations to the federal government and financial industry for working closely together to stave off for at least one year this annual threat to the survival of humanity by merely doubling the unemployment rate. Bravo!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

20 comments:

robert said...

"Pearanoia"! I love it, Steve Sailer, I love it!

Funny I follow the news all the time said...

The reason Tamar Jacoby is at a Wisconsin dairy farm conference is because California is driving Wisconsin dairy farmers out of business by use of “cheap” illegal alien labor on giant diary operations.

Wisconsin dairy farms are mostly small scale family operations and use little if any outside the family labor. Now in response to the California giant operations, some are pushing for massive importation of Mexicans into Wisconsin in order for some larger dairy operations to compete with the California ones.

Many small family dairy operations in Wisconsin are selling off their cows and focusing on alternatives if they can find them.

RWF said...

The farm workers justification for mass immigration is particularly bizarre when you consider that farmers are subsidized to over produce in any case.

mmm mmm mmm Mark said...

The farm workers justification for mass immigration is particularly bizarre when you consider that farmers are subsidized to over produce in any case.

It's double hypocrisy. For years liberals have been telling us that the First World isn't competing fairly with the Third World wrt agriculture, which we heavily subsidize, because agriculture is one thing the Third World can do.

But then I stopped expecting the Left to make any sense years ago.

Paul said...

More good harvest news - crops continue to be pollinated after the extinction of all bees several years ago. Bees are just as scarce as illegal immigrants!

Anonymous said...

Can you even begin to imagine all of the mockery and scorn that would be heaped on any columnist and/or lobbyist who dared to suggest that all our produce was going to rot because of an alleged worker shortage - at a time of 10% unemployment nationwide, and California at 12.2%?

True, it never even made sense back in 2006, with "full employment" (and tens of millions of able-bodied men and women receiving government handouts for not working), but at the time we could at least kid ourselves that no one was around to do the work.

AMac said...

I fail to understand why you think the problem of not-enough-workers is easily solved.

Suppose I am a large multinational agribusiness, and I need to hire 100 workers at $7/hour. If I can only find 50 Americans willing to work at this wage, what am I supposed to do? Yes, I can lobby my Congressman or make a targeted campaign contribution, but interest groups routinely do this already!

I repeat, what sort of exotic trick do you people imagine that an agribusiness could pull out of its hat to somehow get those missing 50 people to work for $7/hour? Looked at that way, Thank Goodness for illegal immigration!

Curvaceous Carbon-based Life Form said...

"Suppose I am a large multinational agribusiness, and I need to hire 100 workers at $7/hour. If I can only find 50 Americans willing to work at this wage, what am I supposed to do?"

Is this question intended as sarcasm? Sometimes it's hard to tell from postings on the 'net.

On the off chance you're serious, Amac:
You are supposed to raise your wage rates high enough to attract the other 50.
Or mechanize.
Duh.
Or go out of business, and save ME the costs of paying (through taxes to provide social services) the living expenses of your cheap help you refuse to pay a living wage. Buh-bye. I'll garden, thanks, -- which has the added benefit to me of avoiding e-coli infections that illiterate 3rd worlders, who don't know to wash their hands after using the bathroom, spread.

AMac said...

Curvaceous,

Your three proposed solutions certainly seem to make sense. But I dunno. Neither Bush nor Obama find any merit in them. Has anybody ever tried to think about a labor market in terms of supply and demand? Sounds too ivory-towery to have much application in the real world.

Also, think of the advantages enjoyed by poor Americans, who benefit from marginally cheaper goods and services, even if they they've been underbid out of their jobs by illegal aliens. (I read that in the NYT, or maybe it was the WSJ, so it's true. The World is Flat, you know!)

Kevin B said...

Farm labor represents about ten percent of the cost of a good. Say a head of lettuce sells for a dollar. Ten cents of the cost of that lettuce, sitting in your grocery store shelf, is due to immigrant labor. So if you double the field wages from $7 and hour to $14, you have effectively raised the price of that lettuce to around $1.10. A whopping ten penny increase. And at $14 an hour, mechanization is viable.

Jacoby is one of the most unconscionable members of the cheap labor racket. Shilling for lower wages when millions have been thrown out of work. My guess is her zeal has nothing at all to do with economic factors and everything to do with changing America's demographics as fast as is politically possible. The faster the better because if people catch on too late, change will be nearly irreversible, or so these idiots believe.

What they do not understand is that 1. nothing is irreversible except death and 2. the most common form of change is destruction.

That these fools continue to pour gasoline on what is now a widening prairie fire is testament that under all the preening pieties, they are fundamentally nihilists, bent on destruction for destruction's sake.

Which makes them the enemy of my country.

Mr. Anon said...

"AMac said...

I fail to understand why you think the problem of not-enough-workers is easily solved.

Suppose I am a large multinational agribusiness, and I need to hire 100 workers at $7/hour. If I can only find 50 Americans willing to work at this wage, what am I supposed to do? Yes, I can lobby my Congressman or make a targeted campaign contribution, but interest groups routinely do this already!

I repeat, what sort of exotic trick do you people imagine that an agribusiness could pull out of its hat to somehow get those missing 50 people to work for $7/hour? Looked at that way, Thank Goodness for illegal immigration!"

Here's what they could do: Offer 10 $/hour and get 80 Americans willing to do it. Or offer 12 $/hour and get 100 who are so willing. Then raise their prices, which if we want to eat, we would pay.

Failing that, they can just go out of business, for all I care. Screw 'em, if they don't want to hire Americans.

tommy said...

To Coin a Phrase: "An Aunt Tamar."

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO SUCH THING as a "labour shortage". What they MEAN by this is a shortage of CHEAP labour. At the right price you can always find SOMEBODY to do the job. The problem is they don't want to PAY the right price.

Anonymous said...

Suppose I am a large multinational agribusiness, and I need to hire 100 workers at $7/hour. If I can only find 50 Americans willing to work at this wage, what am I supposed to do?




I'm going for sarcasm on this one. Hard to tell with some of the people on the net though. I've come across people saying stuff not much less silly, and meaning it.

AMac said...

Tommy's "An Aunt Tamar" links to this July '09 WaPo op-ed Tamar and Jorge Casteneda (ex-foreign minister). These sachems write:

- - -

"When the economy begins recovering, U.S. housing starts will climb, restaurants will fill up again, Americans will take the vacations they've been putting off and more. Revitalized businesses will once again need foreign workers for jobs that increasingly educated Americans do not want.

Meanwhile, in Mexico... the working-age population will continue to grow faster than the number of decent-paying jobs, and young workers will continue to want to go where they can make a better living.

It's supply and demand -- to the benefit of both countries... The bottom line is that the only way to stop illegal outflows from Mexico is to legalize them, adapting the law to reality, not the other way around."

- - -

Too bad the WaPo didn't ask me to copy edit for clarity.

"Revitalized businesses will once again want to underpay foreign workers for jobs that even desparate Americans do not want, at the wages on offer."

"It's Open Borders -- to the benefit of Mexico's upper-class ruling elite that one of us (Casteneda) represents, and equally benefiting the race-pandering left wing elite of the U.S., represented by the other (Jacoby)."

David said...

I sunk $100K into a greeting card business and need to hire people for zero cents per hour to lick envelopes. Of course I support efforts to roll back the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. How else would my business survive? What in hell do you people expect me to do?

Truth said...

You mean white Republicans have gotten fed up enough with immigration to take sub-minimum wage jobs picking vegetables for long hours in the hot sun?

See, you guys are making a difference.

PRCalDude said...

Also, think of the advantages enjoyed by poor Americans, who benefit from marginally cheaper goods and services, even if they they've been underbid out of their jobs by illegal aliens.

Poor Americans don't eat fruits and vegetables. That's something triathlon and marathon-running SWPLs do.

Poor Americans eat processed junk food. Just look at them.

David said...

So, are we or are we not going to have enough pears this year?

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely NO SUCH THING as a "labour shortage". What they MEAN by this is a shortage of CHEAP labour. At the right price you can always find SOMEBODY to do the job. The problem is they don't want to PAY the right price.

Excellent point of course - market clearing prices, econ 101.

We even see this in other discussions. Every time industry shills want to drive down the cost of their labor, they go on this big "labor shortage" propaganda push. In the late 1990s we heard the steady drum beat of an IT worker shortage. And we always hear about a shortage in nurses.

The objective: flood the market with candidates and let supply overwhelm demand.

Later we hear of layoffs in these areas too but no one seems to remember the earlier calls to action.

I was mentoring a young guy at work who was took it all at face value. When I explained the dynamic his eyes went wide and he had his moment of clarity. Told him to follow his dreams but apply as much critical thinking as he could muster.