October 15, 2005: There Is No Raisin Shortage (An excellent Column Which Refutes The Claim That The U.S. Needs Immigrants To Do Agricultural Labour) Done By Joe Guzzardi of VDARE.COM
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October 15, 2005
There Is NO RAISIN SHORTAGE! (Just A Shortage Of Immigration Enthusiast Honesty)
By Joe Guzzardi
The country is in the grip of a raisin crisis!
Our Christmas fruitcakes are doomed to be raisinless!
at least according to the utter hogwash being cranked out by the MSM.
Last week, I reported that Los Angeles Times columnist Robert Hiltzikwinner of the Second Annual VDARE.COM Worst Immigration Coverage Award and a leading candidate for the soon-to-be-announced Third Annual prizewas crying in his beer about the lack of agricultural workers to harvest this years California raisin crop.
No (Mexican) workers, Hiltzik boldly but erroneously predicted, means no raisins for consumers.
Hiltziks column appeared on September 22nd. [Border Policy Is Pinching Farmers, Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2005]
Since then and despite the abundance of raisins, the same chant has been monotonously repeated loudly elsewhere in the media.
On September 27th, Richard Gonzales of National Public Radio narrated a segment called California Farm Workers Look to Other Jobs.
And the October 4th issue of Time Magazine featured a story by Laura Locke, headed Slim Pickings in California that echoed the “crisis” theme previously pounded on by Hiltzik and Gonzales. [Vdare.com note: The Western Growers Association posted a PDF copy on their website, along with other “crisis” stories. Contact them here, if you want to congratulate their PR department or something.]
(Locke added this nugget as part of her advocacy for more immigration: “A crackdown on illegal immigration by U.S. Border Patrol and vigilantes called Minutemen is also choking the supply of new workers.”)
To give you some idea of how shallow and lazy the journalism is on the subject of Ag workers, both Hiltzik and Gonzales made reference to the San Joaquin Valleys “September rains” as a reason to hustle the workers up from Mexico and Central America before the grapes are ruined.
Minor problem: no significant rain falls in the valley in September.
According to the University of California Cooperative Extension, the September rainfall since 2000 averages a barely measurable 3/10th of an inch.
And the pieces by the LA Times, Time Magazine and NPR contained plenty of other major oversights easily spotted by keen-eyed VDARE.COM readers.
Last week, I referred to our readers as “knowing the score” and I pointed to them as one reason why the various Congressional amnesty bills will have a tough time passing.
This is what I meant:
First, Maggie Art, proprietor of www.slowcaliforniagrowth.com, wrote to me right after my column was posted. Art directed me to a California Economic Development report that showed 1.1 million Ag workers reside in California and compete for 388,000 jobs, a 3-1 ratio. (PDF)
Second, a reader who requested anonymity questioned what he called “raisin math.” As we know, immigration advocates claim that we “need” a guest worker program because American consumers are unwilling to pay the retail prices that would result if higher wages were paid. But an analysis of farm wages on market prices made by Rural Migration News found that a 40% increase in farm labor costs translated to a puny two to three percent price rise. See the details here.
Third, California reader Barbara Vickroy unearthed this gem. In June 1965, Time Magazine published “Who Will Pick the Strawberries?” that made the identical arguments for guest workers that are being advanced today. That is, asparagus, lettuce, melons and strawberries are rotting in the field and that farmers face a multi-billion dollar loss unless guest workers come to California pronto. According to Time in 1965, California
“Faces a severe farm-labor shortage and huge losses in its biggest ($3.5 billion) industryfarming.”
Hmmm, what was an amazing coincidence!
During that year of 1965, the year the disastrous Immigration Act of 1965 passed.
And, during 2005, right when the Bush Administration and its henchmen in Congress is fanatically pressing more hurtful immigration legislation despite most Americans strong opposition, the MSM is once again publishing slanted, cheerleading pieces.
As a native Californian, I am well qualified to report on what actually happened in the forty years that have elapsed since Time predicted that the states agriculture market would go to hell in a strawberry flat without more migrant workers.
Not one individual in California has been deprived of the opportunity to buy a single spear of asparagus, a leaf of lettuce or a melon or berry of any type because of a “labor shortage.”
Farmers markets overflow with California produce.
Today October 13th, as I write this column, the predicted high temperature for sunny Lodi is 88 degrees. The unseasonably warm weather has produced a second yield of strawberries.
This morning I bought a half-flat from the same fruit stand I have been patronizing for nearly twenty years. I paid $8.00 for six huge baskets piled so high with strawberries that they tumbled out of their boxes.
The fruit stand is owned and operated by Tong Tchin, a legal immigrant from Laos. During the seasonal peak, Tchins American-born children help him manage his business.
All of the facts reported in this column are readily available to the Los Angeles Times Hiltzik (e-mail email@example.com), National Public Radios Gonzales and Time Magazines Locke. About fifteen minutes on the Internet is all the research it would take.
But because they favor unlimited immigration, the Times, NPR and Time Magazine chooseand then choose againto ignore reality.
The United States has no labor shortage.
Crops will not rot in the fields if we dont import Mexican and Central American workers.
And most of all, American taxpayers should not be asked to subsidize growers dependency on cheap labor.
Congress faces a tough-sell on anything that smacks of a guest worker program or amnestybecause too many Americans are wise to the VDARE.COM truth.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.
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