« Scholars Urge Bush to End Torture | Main | Cheney Shaped Tax Policies »

Conservatives Driving Up Grocery Prices

One ugly side effect of the continued conservative-driven war on immigration is a huge shortage of migrant workers that may cause most of many crops to simply rot and go unharvested. Already, some food prices on produce are becoming very steep such as cherries and tomatoes, farmworkers.jpgas political conservatives continue to drive up food prices and create a climate of fear where undocumented migrant workers refuse to show up for jobs where immigration raids could be highly likely and their family torn apart by arrest and deportation of some family members.

Some produce such as tomatoes are now selling for a record $2.99 a pound. Many other agriculture products are hitting record price levels as well. In Portland, Oregon, The Daily Grind, a vegetarian grocery store recently had to raise the price of their vegan cherry pies from $8.50 to $9.50, largely because of the big increase in cherry prices. A local cherry farmer from neighboring Southwestern Washington state has only been able to find 10 workers to pick next week's cherry harvest, when at least 60 workers are needed for example. Most of these cherries might just rot on the vine because of a severe lack of migrant workers created by the climate of fear of an immigration raid because of political pressures from conservatives.

farmworkers2Conservatives often beat up on Democrats and liberals over the tax issue. Yet they never take responsibility for the big costs they bring on the general public through support for racist policies such as attacks on immigrant and migrant workers which is resulting in big price increases to grocery consumers.

NAFTA ruined the agricultural economy of Mexico and drove many Mexican farmers and farmworkers into extreme poverty as some wages declined by a third or more. Large American corporate farms dumped corn on the Mexican market at extremely low prices that ruined the price structure in Mexico, creating an economic crisis bringing many immigrants to the U.S. as a matter of their economic survival. Now conservatives are blocking work by migrant workers in the U.S. claiming that any moderation on immigration is "amnesty" for illegal workers, leaving millions of Mexican and South American economic refugees no economic alternative in their own country or in the U.S. as migrant workers.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

  • Currently 2.6/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 2.6/5 (10 votes cast)


Comments (12)

Steve Crickmore:

Good point Paul, when lettuce reaches 5 dollars a head, Conservatives will be the first to scream where have all the Mexican migrant workers gone?

superdestroyer:

I guess that freezes in California, the increase in fuel costs, and the ethanol programs have also added to the price of food.

The problem seems to be that the produce growers have not adapted to new market conditions.

Also, why does an organic farm that is suppose to be small scale and yuppish need illegal immigrants to harvest their crops?

Heralder:

6.8 Million Americans are unemployed as of May 2007. Is that not enough to harvest crops, or is this something that can only be done illegally?

The adage that illegal aliens are doing jobs that Americans won't do is untrue in one important aspect:

Illegal aliens are doing jobs that Americans won't do for $1.50 an hour.

I find your position selfish and racist if you somehow think Mexicans are the only people fit to mow lawns and harvest crops. Furthermore, you fail miserably providing a cogent argument for a few reasons:

1) Your verbage. ex. "climate of fear", "racist policies" and Illegal Immigration happens because of us. One almost begins to wonder if any topic cannot be visited without striking those particular chords. I presume it's those chords that provoke that desired pavlovian response from both sides though, so perhaps it's just trying to draw attention.

2) Your failure to understand that every country has a soveriegn right to control the flucuation of legal immigration, and the duty to halt and enforce illegal immigration.

I suppose, Paul, that as long as your lettuce is within an acceptable price range, you care not for how much the worker got paid to pick it, or whether or not they live in a one bedroom apartment with twelve other illegal immigrants.
Like some liberals, altruism is just a device to present an argument without looking like a racist, a bigot, or a liar.

As for your Chavez-ian conclusion that the U.S. is to blame for the misgovernment of South America, well, I'm sure you know how I feel about that.

We as Americans are not selfish people, we gave something to the tune of 300 Billion dollars to charities last year, much of which was aimed at helping the victims of natural disasters. We may not expect much of a thanks for that, but we do expect for people to take responsibility for their actions. If you bring your family here illegally it is your fault if it is broken up through deportations.

You may wish that mass amnesty be granted to illegal aliens so you can get your groceries cheaper without the danger of a work stoppage due to immigration raids, but you willfully neglect the social consequences, the sheer monetary weight, and the political ramifications of such an action.

If I've misrepresented any of your views, you have my apologies.

Lee Ward:

"6.8 Million Americans are unemployed as of May 2007. Is that not enough to harvest crops, or is this something that can only be done illegally?"

If these unemployed Americans were willing and able to do this work they wouldn't --uhm, you know - be unemployed. There is a critical shortage in this area -- and there aren't many laid off Detroit autoworkers moving out to Fresno, California to toil in the fields.

They choose to not do this work.

"Your verbage. ex. "climate of fear", "racist policies" and Illegal Immigration happens because of us. One almost begins to wonder if any topic cannot be visited without striking those particular chords."

How many other issues are there that mobilize the right into the concerted and intense lobbying efforts we've seen on this issue?

None.

Nothing motivates a racist like the prospect of US citizenship for a dark-skinned illegal immigrant.

superdestroyer:

Lee,

If those illegal aliens were still darked skinned but mormoms who almost certainly would vote Republican in the future, I would guess that every left of center organization would by against the immigration program.

However, since they are poor, in needed of large number of government programs, and future Democratic Party voters, the left is now willing to sell U.S. citizenship at $5K a person.

Lee Ward:

Yep - you got some of it right, SuperDestroyer. Since they are poor, hardworking, productive members of our society we Democrats will do what we can to give them a helping hand.

As to your remark about the Democrats trying to buy votes -- Bush did just find with Latinos --

Latino voters in the 2004 Presidential Election (source: CNN)

Bush - 44%
Kerry - 53%
Nader - 2%

Bush knew how to reach and motivate latino voters, and one of the benefits for Republicans of having the Immigration bill come to a head now -- and the main reason imho as to why Bush wants to get this done now rather than later -- is that passage now leaves lots of time for the Latino voters to 'get over' the actions of the racist bigots on the right we see these days.

You're right -- conservatives and neo-conservatives may not have anyone on the right who can attract the latino vote in 2008 as well as Bush did in 2006, but don't blame that on the Democrats.

superdestroyer:

That 44% is the best the Republicans ever did in virtually any election. If you look at the 2006 results, they went right back to the 75% for Democrats that the Hispanic voters have traditionally delivered for the Democrats. Ever non-Cuban ancestory member of the Hispanic Congressional caucus is a Democrat. The one Hispanic Republican Senator is a Cuban-American.

Outside of Cubans are upper middle class mexican-Americans in Texas, no hispanics vote Republican.

To argue that the Republicans can win Hispanic votes with a smaller government, less spending platform is laughable versus the free healthcare, free education, free housing, let the gringos pay for it program of the Democrats.

Heralder:

Lee:

If these unemployed Americans were willing and able to do this work they wouldn't --uhm, you know - be unemployed.

Which is why I resonded:

"Illegal aliens are doing jobs that Americans won't do for $1.50 an hour."

However, you do bring up the point I somehow missed, which is regional personnel shortage.

Coal miners. Picking crops is like a eating marshmellows in a recliner compared to that job, and yet Americans are doing those jobs because they get paid American wages.

How many other issues are there that mobilize the right into the concerted and intense lobbying efforts we've seen on this issue?

It's like plucking strings on a guitar, isn't it? As I said:

"I presume it's those chords that provoke that desired pavlovian response from both sides though, so perhaps it's just trying to draw attention."

Nothing motivates a racist like the prospect of US citizenship for a dark-skinned illegal immigrant.

You're barking up the wrong tree on that one. Besides, I scoff at that tactic because it's emotional manipulation at it's best. Someone doesn't agree? Call them a racist and they'll fall into line just to avoid the social stigma.
Sorry, I'm not intimidated. I've clearly spelled out my opinion on this matter.

Having an impoverished, foreign working class out in the fields so you can have your lettuce at a decent price isn't particulary a persuasive argument for your side. It didn't work for the South before the civil war either.


Paul Hamilton:

Back when I was in college, Cesar Chavez was organizing the farm workers for fair wages and proper working conditions. All the students did their part by boycotting lettuce in the dorm cafeterias, or if we were feeling particularly feisty, we'd take the lettuce and then dump it on the floor.

The point of this is that this is NOT a new debate. Then, as now, most of the agricultural workers were transient illegals. And the same arguments were being made then as now -- if you want Americans or legal immigrants to pick your crops, they'll be too expensive to buy!

But I don't believe in this sort of sliding scale of propriety. If our borders are worth respecting, which I believe they are, then maybe you'll have a slight sacrifice for your beliefs. Over on Classic yesterday, I mentioned that when you buy something from Wal Mart, all you're really doing is propping up Chinese dictators and putting them in a better and better position to economically menace America due to the trade imbalance we have with them. Is it worth it to you to pay more for your t-shirt if it helps an American instead of a despot in Beijing?

It's our choice. The road to economic destruction is a four-lane highway and downhill all the way. The road to sound policies and supporting our own people is a lot tougher...

Heralder:

Excellent post Paul Hamilton,

I agree.

Steve Crickmore:

It's too bad someone in the 'First Family' coudn't do a photo-op in the USA, by picking vegetables but that would be less exotic and perhaps more controversial.
Today, Bush as confusing as ever, said "You know, I've heard all the rhetoric -- you've heard it, too -- about how this is amnesty. Amnesty means that you've got to pay a price for having been here illegally, and this bill does that".

Lee Ward:

I'm really going to miss the Bush family -- they are an endless source of amusement.


Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

bluetips@wizbangblog.com

Advertisments

Categories

Archives

Technorati



Add to Technorati Favorites

Credits

Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

All original content copyright © 2007 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark. Wizbang Blue™ is a trademark of Wizbang®, LLC.

Powered by Movable Type 3.35

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.