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Mickey Kaus On The Curious Incident Of The Crops That Didn`t Rot In The Fields
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March 31, 2008, 08:53 PM
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Mickey Kaus has the item, but with no permalink (one permalink per item, please) so you have to scroll up from here to find it.
Crop Rot Watch: Tom Bevan on a Pennsylvania tomato grower who`s giving up because (he says) Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform! "No one will harvest tomatoes in 90 degree weather except immigrant labor," says the farmer, Keith Eckel, who says he paid an average of $16.59 an hour. He also seems to agree that many of the documents immigrant workers showed farmers like him were fraudulent. ... But note that no tomatoes are rotting in the fields in this story. Eckel has just decided to plant another, less labor-intensive crop: "45 acres of sweet corn, and 1,200 acres of corn for grain." Is this a tragedy, or a surprisingly painless transition away from a business that used illegal labor to a business that uses legal labor? We will buy fewer Pennsylvania tomatoes and more Pennsylvania corn. So? ... P.S.: Bevan questions whether Eckel really couldn`t get non-immigrant Pennsylvanians to pick his crops for such a relatively high wage. I suspect the answer is he could, but that the (largely illegal) immigrant workers would be much better at it than the non-immgrant workers. ... That could be one dirty little secret of the immigration debate: It`s not that employers can`t get legal workers. It`s that at any given wage they`d prefer the non-legal workers, and not only for the familiar disreputable reasons (e.g., that illegals live in fear and are therefore more docile). ... 1:04 A.M.
Of course, the really interesting thing is that we`re seeing a Crop Rot Fever story in March—I don`t know what the temperature is in California, but in Pennsylvania at this time of year, not only do crops not rot in the fields, a pound of hamburger left outside wouldn`t rot in the fields—you`d have to defrost it before you could have lunch