When the subject is immigration: how to get more of it, especially unskilled Mexicans; how to legalize those who are already here; and above all, why the Republican Party is in deep trouble if it doesn’t go along with the Times’ open borders ideology. Hence this story in yesterday’s Times: “California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience.”
The theme of the article is that California farmers need to import more Mexican workers to enable the production of more cheap vegetables. With the current “labor shortage,” wages are actually rising! We can’t have that.
A reader writes:
This is the best:
[F]oreign-grown produce consumed in the United States had increased by nearly 80 percent since the late 1990s. The report argues that the labor shortages make it impossible for American farmers to increase production and compete effectively with foreign importers. While the amount of fresh produce consumed by Americans has increased, domestic production has not kept pace, and the report attributes a $1.4 billion annual loss [sic] in farm income [sic] to the lack of labor.
Oh, the humanity!!
Keep out the cheap Mexican onions! Instead, let’s bring in millions of cheap Mexicans themselves as “guest workers”-who-never-leave. Yeah!…that’s the ticket!….import the workers, not the onions and cucumbers! Syndicalism, protectionism and autarky!
And let’s note that the factitious $1.4 billion is gross revenue, not income, and is not a cash “loss” but a bogus constructed opportunity cost calculated from bringing into production marginal land with very cheap labor — a failure of wish fulfillment, not an actual “loss”. The supposed $1.4 billion is about 4% of California’s total produce receipts and much less than 1% of the U.S. total — and under one ONE-HUNDRETH of 1% of GDP. Oh, boo hoo…the sorrow!
What happens when you need more workers? You pay them more!
In recent years, farm owners have grown increasingly fearful of labor shortages. Last year, the diminished supply of workers led average farm wages in the region to increase by roughly $1 an hour, according to researchers at U.C. Davis who have tracked wages for years. Now, farm owners are pressing to make it easier for would-be immigrants to obtain agricultural visas, which they say would create a more reliable labor supply.
“More reliable” presumably means cheaper. Who knows, a few more wage increases and agricultural labor may be back in the category of jobs Americans are happy to do. The question, of course, is whether Americans will harvest onions cheaply enough to out-compete impoverished Mexicans. If not, importing onions is the obvious solution.
Of course, the immigration issue is not solely an economic one, however much proponents seek to distract attention from all non-economic consequences, intended and otherwise. In the post linked above, Steve Sailer adds a comment on this observation by the Times:
Today, many fieldworkers are indigenous people from southern Mexico who speak Mixtec and know little English or Spanish.
Nothing will alleviate America’s Income Inequality and Social Immobility crises faster than bringing in a lot of Mixtec-speaking stoop laborers whose ancestors didn’t learn Spanish in the last 493 years.
Unfortunately, our media are almost unanimously dedicated to obscuring the effects, economic and otherwise, of importing tens of millions of new unskilled laborers.