Being a Xenophobic Bigot Has Costs

Clowns:

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.

Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him.

The results of that investigation have now been released. According to survey of 230 Georgia farmers conducted by Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, farmers expect to need more than 11,000 workers at some point over the rest of the season, a number that probably underestimates the real need, since not every farmer in the state responded to the survey.

In response, Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia. Somehow, I suspect that would not be a partnership made in heaven for either party.

This is what rule by the stupid party looks like. No one could have predicted we would have a labor shortage if we criminalized all our cheap labor.

Seriously- why do people vote for these guys? I just don’t get it. Democrats are a mess in their own right, but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

148 replies
  1. 1
    zmulls says:

    The right-wing response is going to go along the lines of: “Well, why don’t all those whiny unemployed people begging for a government handout move down to Georgia and do some real work?”

    Seriously I expect some variation on that from Rush Limbaugh…

  2. 2
    Hal says:

    Wait, you mean there aren’t legal residents of the US lining up to harvest crops for a few bucks a day? Amazing.

  3. 3
    Mike Goetz says:

    Hey, when you turn the workers into criminals, why not just turn the criminals into workers?

    When does Deal blame Obama for this?

  4. 4
    Yevgraf says:

    This story made me tumescent, Cole. It would only be better if somehow, we had unhappy north of Atlanta exurbanite misery included.

  5. 5
    nanute says:

    The response will more likely be something along the line of making Georgia’s unemployed pick fruits and vegetables for the check.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    Doesn’t Blackwater have a fruit & vegetable picking section?

    Free market!

  7. 7
    BO_Bill says:

    I am willing to pay an extra quarter per tomato.

  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    The state is also going to lose sale tax revenue and localities will lose business taxes from the local stores that cater to the wants/needs of the immigrants. Idiots.

  9. 9
    trollhattan says:

    Jeez JC, with no garden left to hoe you really get into the posting thang.

    In California the farmers ag industry are clever enough to not direct their pet Republicans to take on immigration–they certainly know who does most of the work–so they whinge about not getting sufficient subsidized federal water instead. That’s their hobby horse.

  10. 10
    cleek says:

    i smell a business opportunity for the for-profit prison industry!

  11. 11
    D0n Camillo says:

    Long term thinking isn’t the GOPs strong point is it? Luckily for them, long term memory isn’t most voters’ strong point.

  12. 12
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Democrats are a mess in their own right, but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

    But they support equal protection under the Constitution for blastocysts. Everything else is just gravy.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    i smell a business opportunity for the for-profit prison industry!

    They already have all the songs!

  14. 14
    Maude says:

    I’m obligated to say, it’s $50 an hour to pick lettuce.
    Or whatever Gramps was mumbling about.

  15. 15
    stuckinred says:

    There are people around here who bitch and moan about the prices our local organic farmers charge for their produce. It’s no going to look nearly as bad when the full impact of this stupidity is felt.

  16. 16
    Gus diZerega says:

    THINKING isn’t the GOP’s strong point.

  17. 17
    Han's Solo says:

    Wait a second, this can’t be true. I thought brown people didn’t work, I thought all they did was sell drugs and start forest fires. That is what the Republicans keep telling me.

    Are you saying the GOP has been lying? Nofuckinway!

  18. 18
    BGinCHI says:

    Salutary benefit now is that those who do work at these jobs can demand higher wages.

    Maybe it’s time for Reconstruction II.

  19. 19
    shortstop says:

    i smell a business opportunity for the for-profit prison industry!

    That’s the sound of the men picking on the chain gang.

  20. 20

    Yes criminalizing the cheap labor has economic consequences. But will that stop Republicans from demonizing illegal immigrants out of political expediency? Will it stop Republican politicians from showing up on Fox News to talk about the “immigration crisis” and fearmongering about brown people ruining the economy?

    Of course not. Expect to hear more fearmongering about illegals during the 2012 campaign, and expect the Democrats to cluelessly wade into the muck instead of pointing out the very real example of Georgia’s agriculture industry.

  21. 21
    chopper says:

    as someone in an earlier thread once quoted:

    Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters. Ronaldus Magnus

  22. 22
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I been thinking about us, too, about our people living like pigs and good rich land layin’ fallow. Or maybe one guy with a million acres and a hundred thousand farmers starvin’. And I been wonderin’ if all our folks got together and yelled.

  23. 23
    Maude says:

    Stuckinred
    We’ll get the price hikes here in NJ or a lack of produce.

  24. 24
    cleek says:

    like my mamma always never said: there ain’t no finer peach than a peach picked by a man in an orange jumpsuit with a shackle on his leg near a fat guy with a shotgun.

  25. 25
    jheartney says:

    This charming little story is a microcosm of all wingnut policy. War, deficits, the economy, social policy, drugs, deregulation, etc., they are always astonished when applying their ignorant ideas leads to things getting worse.

    Luckily they are very good at finding liberal scapegoats to blame. Otherwise they might have to rethink their worldview.

  26. 26
    drkrick says:

    It would be interesting to see what wage rate it would take to find 11,000 willing takers for those jobs. I’m sure the ag industry would rather let the crops rot in the field than find out.

  27. 27
    Redshift says:

    I’m waiting with baited breath for free market fundamentalists to explain why agribusiness is letting crops rot in the field rather than follow the law of supply and demand and pay more for labor, since there’s a shortage.

    (Yeah, I know some of why, but I’m anticipating the explanation of why free markets are infallible and morally right for everything except when they cause wages to go up.)

  28. 28
    Zifnab says:

    Yes criminalizing the cheap labor has economic consequences.

    The GOP plan just hasn’t come full circle yet. You need to criminalize the cheap labor. Then arrest the laborers. Then fill the prisons. Then use the prisoners to fill the role of the cheap labor you “lost”.

    Then kick up your heels on your plantation patio, lean back, and hope Sherman doesn’t make a pass back through Atlanta any time soon.

  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    Redshift, I predict something like “Because shut up, that’s why.”

  30. 30
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia.

    When working is criminalized, only criminals will have jobs.

  31. 31
    Doug says:

    Those probationers aren’t really working out:

    The first batch of probationers started work last week at a farm owned by Dick Minor, president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association. In the coming days, more farmers could join the program.
    So far, the experiment at Minor’s farm is yielding mixed results. On the first two days, all the probationers quit by mid-afternoon, said Mendez, one of two crew leaders at Minor’s farm.
    “Those guys out here weren’t out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, ‘Bonk this, I ain’t with this, I can’t do this,'” said Jermond Powell, a 33-year-old probationer. “They just left, took off across the field walking.”
    Mendez put the probationers to the test last Wednesday, assigning them to fill one truck and a Latino crew to a second truck. The Latinos picked six truckloads of cucumbers compared to one truckload and four bins for the probationers.
    “It’s not going to work,” Mendez said. “No way. If I’m going to depend on the probation people, I’m never going to get the crops up.”

    AJC

  32. 32
    lacp says:

    What? The farm workers have Gone Galt?

  33. 33
    MikeJ says:

    It would be interesting to see what wage rate it would take to find 11,000 willing takers for those jobs

    Jobs that will only last a few weeks or months at best. A few weeks or months of backbreaking labor almost certainly with no health plan.

  34. 34
    Redshift says:

    Luckily they are very good at finding liberal scapegoats to blame. Otherwise they might have to rethink their worldview.

    Yep. Conservatism can never fail. No matter how severely they screw things up, there’s always a Democrat around somewhere who must be to blame. If only pure conservative ideas could be put into practice…

  35. 35
    Dave says:

    drkrick – according to the article, over half of the jobs pay b/t 7.25 and 8.99, which averages out to $320 before taxes over 40 hours. Only 169 openings of the 11,000 jobs pay $16 or more.

    Also, only 7.7% of the jobs offer health insurance.

  36. 36
    MikeJ says:

    Deal proposes that farmers try to hire the 2,000 unemployed criminal probationers estimated to live in southwest Georgia.

    This could be a cheaper way of filling the state legislature.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    This proves the need for more seasonal agricultural visas, which would underpin a more sane immigration policy.

    Agricultural workers are needed, and they cannot get enough visas to come and go legally and freely.

    Real world example.

    That this clusterf*ck hurts some wingnut Georgians in their pocketbooks?

    Icing.

  38. 38
    AAA Bonds says:

    I don’t know, maybe they can come up with some sort of GOVERNMENT PROGRAM to match up the local unemployed with farm jobs. You know, since those are the jobs that all those immigrants stole from American citizens who would otherwise have them and Georgia’s unemployment rate is around 10%.

    Oh, wait, shit, that’s Red ChiCom as hell, practically FDR stuff! I guess we just have to let the market take its course, which is right the fuck on out of Georgia.

  39. 39
    jl says:

    I was going to make a joke about all the probationers running down the local employment development office at 4 AM to get in line for a job picking something.

    But Georgia doesn’t seem to have any local offices like that, at least from what I can see from the GA Dept of Labor site.

    I guess living in CA, and at one time or another hiring and being hired at one of those CA agricultural labor meat markets, I figured everyone in the country suffered under similar state government tyranny.

    So, how they gonna get all those willing (ha ha) probationers and the farmers together?

    Callous of me to think of it, a lot of those probationers here probably in for dope. Would you want to hire some one who probably had to toke up to turn out that early in the morning and have them pick your crops as they get the munchies?

    Edit: checked CA website, and you get a clickable map of all the employment offices. But in CA, everyone whose interested knows where they are in each county.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    I think of GA Republicans like I think of the Grandmother at the end of Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”:

    “She would of been a good woman if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

  41. 41
    qwerty42 says:

    Temperatures in the Peach State have been in the upper 90’s for a few weeks now. In south Georgia, it should be in triple digits. You aren’t going to have folks lining up to get jobs picking onions or blueberries or the like. Many would simply drop dead(I would). In fairness, the agricultural counties opposed this measure, and even the Farm Bureau opposed it when it was being talked about last December. It was big with suburban and exurban counties and groups, but not so much with rural. South Georgia has lost population and does not have the clout it once did (but agriculture is a huge industry, so someone will pay for this).

  42. 42
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I’m reposting this here because it fits the topic better.

    Obama issued the DREAM Act as executive order.

    Details are a little more complicated. ICE is an agency dealing with limited resources, like all federal agencies. Prosecutorial discretion in deportation is already granted to the agency based on clearly spelled out factors. What Obama did on Friday is add the DREAM Act categories to that list of factors.

    It doesn’t mean that undocumented immigrants in school wouldn’t be deported, but a prosecutor could let DREAM Act candidates slide, especially if they fulfilled more of the factors already approved.

    It’s the closest thing to a recess appointment the President could do. This is My President, firebaggers. Primary him at your peril!

    Here’s the memo in PDF format: http://www.ice.gov/doclib/secu.....n-memo.pdf

  43. 43
    Catsy says:

    Seriously- why do people vote for these guys? I just don’t get it.

    Tribalism, spite, and ignorance.

    It would be interesting to see what wage rate it would take to find 11,000 willing takers for those jobs. I’m sure the ag industry would rather let the crops rot in the field than find out.

    Yet that seems to be exactly what they are doing.

  44. 44
    Delia says:

    Here’s another wingnut possibility. Last week some woman had a letter in the local paper here offering a solution to the alleged Social Security problem. She described her trip to St. Petersburg, Russia some years back and how the elderly there have very small and inadequate pensions, so they have to sweep the streets to earn extra money. The wingnut said the streets were sparkling clean and thought it was a very good idea as our streets here could use some extra cleaning.

    Now it appears we could also send the elderly into the fields to pick fruit.

  45. 45
    El Cid says:

    Look, it’s not a problem — we’ve got all these criminals we can make work on these farms.

    Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s program to replace fleeing migrant farmworkers with probationers backfired when some of the convicted criminals started walking off their jobs because field work was too strenuous, it was reported Wednesday.
    __
    In a story datelined Leslie, in rural south Georgia, the Associated Press writes of convicts calling it quits at 3:25 p.m. – more than two-and-a-half hours before the crew of Mexicans and Guatemalans they replaced.
    __
    Those guys out here weren’t out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, `Bonk this, I ain’t with this, I can’t do this,’” said Jermond Powell, a 33-year-old probationer working at a farm in Leslie. “They just left, took off across the field walking.”

    I have no idea why people who are in prison anyway [in reality probationers, if snark is not obvious, this ain’t Cool Hand Luke yet] and paid nothing or trivial amounts to bust their asses and scrape their hands raw and shit in super-heated portapotties 4 fields over wouldn’t be useful as labor.

    [*Note: The actual Southern segregation prison labor system was indeed a massive, gigantic systematized re-imposition of slavery, no different than the press-ganging of labor in any other 3rd world nation today. Blacks were swept up, along with some poor whites, for made-up charges or super-severe punishments for minor infractions. It was a huge subsidy to rural agriculture in the neo-Confederacy.]

  46. 46
    jayjaybear says:

    i smell a business opportunity for the for-profit prison industry!

    AKA, modern constitutionally-approved slavery. Welcome back to the Confederacy!

  47. 47
    Sloegin says:

    Turn minimum wage back into what it was when it was created (50% of median wages), apply it to farm work, and boom! loads of people lined up for work.

    Granted, big hike in produce costs, but don’t forget, you’re getting your food cheap now because of unfair labor practices.

  48. 48
    David Hunt says:

    What? The farm workers have Gone Galt?

    I find it ironic that these people removing themselves from the economy actually does cause things to fall apart due to their absence. I guess we’ve found the real Atlases. Guess who that makes the parasites and the looters…

  49. 49
    stuckinred says:

    qwerty42

    One of the 11 alive dudes went down to work with a watermelon crew yesterday and it was seriously kickin his ass.

  50. 50
    jl says:

    “Those guys out here weren’t out there 30 minutes and they got the bucket and just threw them in the air and say, `Bonk this, I ain’t with this, I can’t do this,’” said Jermond Powell, a 33-year-old probationer working at a farm in Leslie. “They just left, took off across the field walking.”

    The severance package for agricultural labor is beautiful in its simplicity.

  51. 51
    cathyx says:

    I’m sick and tired of people saying that those are jobs that Americans won’t do. They won’t do for such little money but if the wages were better, you bet Americans would do them.

    When I was a college kid in the early 80’s, there was a bad recession then. The only work I could get for 3 summers was picking produce at a local produce farm. They paid minimum wage, and if I had to live on that, I wouldn’t have been able to. Anyway, that was the hardest job I ever did, it was back breaking and physically draining. I worked along side of a group of Mexican migrants. As hard and fast as I worked, I couldn’t keep up their pace all day every day. And I was in excellent shape. I had so much respect for them, they never took breaks, just kept up the job until everything was picked.
    So my point is, that job should pay way more than minimum wage. Most people can’t physically or mentally do it.

  52. 52
    Ash Can says:

    @ zmulls: It’s all there in the comments at the link: the column is exaggerating, there’s actually no problem, the labor cost of a head of lettuce is only ten cents so big deal, it’s worth it to get rid of the illegals, it’s the farmers’ fault for hiring illegals in the first place so let them suffer, the illegals should all get work visas and that solves the problem. Every kind of denial imaginable. I wouldn’t care — let them foot the bill for their ignorance at the grocery store — but there are too many innocent bystanders who stand to suffer collateral damage from their pigheadedness and bigotry.

  53. 53
    MaximusNYC says:

    The slogan in the title bar as I was reading this post?

    “Balloon Juice. Just a few bad apples.”

    LOL

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    This charming little story is a microcosm of all wingnut policy. War, deficits, the economy, social policy, drugs, deregulation, etc., they are always astonished when applying their ignorant ideas leads to things getting worse.

    One of my favorites was the discovery by a wingnut Republican in Colorado that the tough restrictions he’d championed to prevent “illegals” from getting driver’s licenses meant that his precious little snowflake couldn’t get one, either. After all, the law was only supposed to apply to Those People, not to nice white people like his family!

    Also, regarding the fight down below with voting rights, note that in Colorado a US passport is not sufficient proof of citizenship to get a driver’s license. But showing a driver’s license to vote is no big deal, no sirree.

  55. 55
    Martin says:

    I would like to point out that GA Republicans probably just raised the effective minimum wage in the state by 25% or more and created some new Democratic voters in the state that will be pushing for immigration reform. That’s assuming that cheaper crops in other states don’t completely fuck their economy. I don’t think GA is a leading agricultural producer of anything other than a particular variant of onion, so they can actually be passed over in the marketplace.

  56. 56
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Seriously- why do people vote for these guys?

    Why do people follow the Pittsburgh Pirates, or go to their games? Because it’s their home team, or their family has a tradition of being Pirates fans, or because it’s a good way to tweak Reds or Phillies fans.

    It’s not by and large because of a desire to see baseball skillfully played. And while PNC Park might be the best venue in MLB, a rationally applied hedonistic calculus doesn’t automatically provide “Go to a Pirates game!” when asked “How then should we live?”

    Throw away the Federalist Papers. To understand politics you just need a big foam ‘We’re #1′ finger.

    “Hook ’em, Melanin-Deficient Evangelical Protestants of Scotch-Irish Decent with Roots in the Old Confederacy and Homes Far from Salt Water! ”

    Or just “Go, Team White.”

  57. 57
    Citizen_X says:

    It’s almost like those Unintended Consequences are marching all the way through Georgia, leaving destruction and desolation in their wake.

    Now why does that sound familiar?

  58. 58
    stuckinred says:

    The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
    The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
    They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
    To pay all their money to wade back again

    Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
    Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
    You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
    All they will call you will be “deportees”

    My father’s own father, he waded that river,
    They took all the money he made in his life;
    My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
    And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

    Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
    Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
    Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
    They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

  59. 59
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @David Hunt #47:

    I guess we’ve found the real Atlases.

    You know, “¡Viva Los Galteños!” has a nice ring to it.

  60. 60
    RossInDetroit says:

    For years Ag was exempt from a lot of work rules applied to every other job. The argument was that farming was a family business that would take care of its own people and costly stuff like workplace safety (OSHA) would drive them all off of their inherited family Centennial Farms. Maybe there was some truth to that 50 years ago but Ag is dominated by huge corporations today that benefit from the cherished American image of Farmer Brown in his overalls and straw hat heading out at dawn to milk Bossy the cow.
    It’s an industry. It lobbies like an industry. Let them pay fair market value for labor and if field greens and pumpkins cost more that’s the price of fairness.

  61. 61
    stuckinred says:

    Martin

    Georgia is perennially the number one state in the nation in the production of peanuts, broilers (chickens), pecans and watermelons. We are also near the top when it comes to cotton, peaches, eggs, tobacco, tomatoes, onions, cantaloupes, cabbage and blueberries. Producers across the state raise cattle, horses, goats, sheep, hogs, poultry, turkeys and alligators. No matter which part of our state you visit, you’ll see some form of agricultural production.

    from the Georgia DOA website.

  62. 62
    Third Eye Open says:

    I can’t wait to bring this up with my Water Management class. We are going to have a great time playing with our water model, especially with changes in AG-demand and M&I-demand in migrant-heavy areas.

  63. 63
    ChrisB says:

    Their mistake, of course, was actually acting on their bigotry. They were better of just oppressing the workers.

  64. 64
    Mudge says:

    Structural unemployment in Georgia. Not enough trained pickers for the available jobs. I read above that the agriculture lobby was against the law from early on. That sure makes the governor’s surprise at the consequences look ridiculous. But then, most Republican governors find a way to do that.

  65. 65
    cleek says:

    I don’t think GA is a leading agricultural producer of anything other than a particular variant of onion

    nearly 50% of US peanuts come from GA

  66. 66
    AAA Bonds says:

    This just in: Americans expect century-long labor struggle to actually fucking count for something

  67. 67
  68. 68
    jl says:

    I agree with some of the commenters above. If the pay is decent, you can find (Eidt US citizen type) people who will do field work.

    In CA, the pay is good at certain times for certain crops. Small individual farmers who have long term contract for their crops payed well and treated their employees pretty good, as I remember.

    I remember picking grapes (nonunion, sorry, I was a college kid and needed quick cash), polling almonds, melons of different types (please, no jokes).

    I remember picking with college kids like me who needed cash, and local HS and community college kids.

    But mostly the pickers where Hispanic, whose legality was never investigated too much.

    Once I picked with a family who were descendants of the Oakies and Dakes who came out during the Depression. They said they loved following the crops up and down the Central Valley. They were UAW and complained that they couldn;t find translators at union meetings. I only met one family like that ever, so I guess they were a rare breed.

    It would take time to replace undocumented workers, they always well over half of the crew, even on easy good paying jobs.

    Edit: I forgot the local young male riff raff who needed some quick bucks, there were always few of those in small jobs that lasted a few days.

  69. 69
    Chris says:

    Proving, as usual, that conservatives wouldn’t recognize a “free market” if it bit them in the ass.

    Mike Judge was a pessimist when he thought “Idiocracy” would require 400 years to come to fruition.

    Nice work, Georgia.

  70. 70
    AAA Bonds says:

    “Americans won’t do these jobs! They’re practically slave labor. That’s why we need slave labor from other countries. Please support my underclass creation program”

  71. 71
    stuckinred says:

    jl

    I don’t think Americans CAN do the work.

  72. 72
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Now it appears we could also send the elderly into the fields to pick fruit.

    Logan’s got the runs skitters.

  73. 73
    J.A.F. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Seriously- why do people vote for these guys? I just don’t get it. Democrats are a mess in their own right, but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

    The Republicans are the asshole party – if you’re an asshole, you’re most likely a Republican. Republicans love themselves an asshole – look at their Governors, they’re usually blatant, in-your-face assholes like Chris Christie. They love fucking people over – the poorer, the better. Single mothers? Immigrants? Sick children? Elderly? Students? It doesn’t matter how vulnerable you are, how tenuous your predicament – there is a Republican somewhere that wants to fuck you over. It’s who they are, it’s what they do.

    My mother made a comment the other day that both parties are the same which caused me to trot out my entirely politically incorrect response. I said:

    “Yes, both parties are the same in the sense that the people who populate them are retards. The Democrats are retards, but they’re the type of retard that works at the grocery store and packs the milk on the eggs and bread. They may get things mixed up but they’ll help carry your groceries to your car. Republicans are retards too, but they’re the kind of retard who sneaks off to the bathroom when no one is looking and smears shit all over the walls. And when you ask them why they smeared shit all over the walls they just stand there saying “wasn’t me” even though you can see the shit caked under their fingernails.”

    Apologies in advance to the people who are offended.

  74. 74
    Bobby Thomson says:

    This is excellent news for John McCain.

  75. 75
    AAA Bonds says:

    It’s funny: nearly every crop where Georgia’s the top producer in the states, China’s the top producer in the world.

    I mean, it’s not really funny or even odd, but there you are.

  76. 76
    PIGL says:

    but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

    This is because a majority of the voters are incompetent, stupid and evil. I am tired of making excuses for their choices. These are not innocent mistakes they are making…nothing of the kind.

    There are possible solutions to this broader problem, but you can’t get there from here.

  77. 77
    Waldo says:

    Proving once again that the only people more dangerous than the GOP’s cynical frauds are its idiotic true believers.

  78. 78
    Shade Tail says:

    Has anyone suggested that maybe the farmers should offer actual *living wages*? Revolutionary thought, I know, but then they wouldn’t have to worry about finding labor. People would be lining up to work if they got paid decently.

  79. 79
    Martin says:

    from the Georgia DOA website.

    Ah, thank you for correcting me. I’ll try and file that all away for next time.

    nearly 50% of US peanuts come from GA

    I think peanut harvesting is pretty automated, so they may not feel this very much. The melon, peach, and onion growers are going to feel this in a big way, though.

  80. 80
    Citizen_X says:

    ThatLeftTurnInABQ@58: ¿Quien es Juan Galt?

  81. 81
    Yevgraf says:

    I read above that the agriculture lobby was against the law from early on. That sure makes the governor’s surprise at the consequences look ridiculous. But then, most Republican governors find a way to do that.

    Rural voters, while generally conservative, can be counted on to supply some pretty solid economic populism to an electoral mix and are far from monolithic. The problem is the influence of all those Galtian/Reardonian bootstrapped exurbanites who have the numbers and the insane districting which magnifies the extent of their voices on statewide bases.

    Nothing says “self-sufficient” like a guy who lives 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta in an exurb benefitted by the nearby scaling of electrical, comm and water utilities, established waste disposal, tax paid public safety services, tax paid roads, tax paid schools, tax paid court systems, and tax paid deed filing systems, all while he makes a living shuffling paper in a title company/insurance agency that he gets to in a giant SUV on those tax paid roads…

  82. 82
    Shygetz says:

    Jobs that will only last a few weeks or months at best. A few weeks or months of backbreaking labor almost certainly with no health plan.

    To be fair, this is only true because we have a supply of labor willing to work under these conditions. If this labor supply wasn’t available, the result would be that agribusiness would either have to make the jobs more attractive, or close down their farms.

    The big problem for Georgia, in my mind, is that the costs required to improve labor compensation to the point where legal employees will do the work will cause Georgia produce to be uncompetitively priced. But, if there were national immigration reform that eliminated cheap, black-market labor, the result might not be terrible. I personally find our dependence on workers satisfied with sub-standard jobs to be morally questionable, much in the vein of sweatshops.

    My problem with Deal’s immigration reform is that it is has no way to partriate current hard-working residents, and that it should be done on the Federal level. The fact that agribusiness will have to offer more attractive working conditions to get employees does not bother me in the least.

  83. 83
    AAA Bonds says:

    I do want to point out that this is a serious problem for America that goes beyond the fine Georgian art of white supremacy.

    We produce based on low-wage jobs that are filled by people under implicit threat from their employers and the state.

    That undermines previous labor victories, drives wages down, and complicates worker solidarity, making organization that much more difficult.

    We can kick out illegal immigrant workers, at the cost of our productive power.

    Or we can retain illegal immigrant workers, at the cost of our spending power.

    And, of course, there’s plenty more jobs that companies can just send overseas (and have) to other places where workers are under implicit or explicit threats from their employers and the state.

    IDK, maybe capitalism isn’t so great?

  84. 84
    jl says:

    @70 stuckinred – June 22, 2011

    Well, I have done the work, and have worked with plenty of native US people who did in fact do the work.

    But I did agree that getting enough people who wanted to work and the farmers together inside one season is probably impossible, especially since GA doesn’t seem to have county employment offices.

    I’m sure they have labor contractors, but they are specialists in knowing just how carefully they should check into worker documentation. I doubt they have much connection to the legitimately documented work force, or where to find them on short notice.

    Over the long term, I think the problem with a documented US ag workforce is that, if most of them were to be permanent residents, it is very difficult to live on summer ag work. Most of the undocumented Hispanics would prefer not to live in the US year round. They have family down south, they send money there and they go get work there during the off season.

    You can live on skilled ag work, like skilled pruning, greenhouse work, planting, etc that goes on in winter and early spring. But there is relatively small demand for that kind of labor compared to picking.

  85. 85
    TheF79 says:

    Has anyone suggested that maybe the farmers should offer actual living wages? Revolutionary thought, I know, but then they wouldn’t have to worry about finding labor. People would be lining up to work if they got paid decently.

    *snicker* Extracting every last bit of surplus from agricultural labor is as American Confederate as apple pecan pie.

  86. 86
    Brachiator says:

    No one could have predicted we would have a labor shortage if we criminalized all our cheap labor.

    Another great rant, although I demur at the idea that the labor is supposed to be “ours” or that it is supposed to be “cheap.”

  87. 87
    RossInDetroit says:

    Downside of paying more for farm labor is that rising food prices will hurt the poor the most.
    This has always been the argument for farm subsidies. We have to give big bucks to Archer Daniels Midland so bread will be cheap enough for kids under the poverty line to have peanut butter sandwiches. Because it would make no sense to give money directly to broke, hungry people.

  88. 88
    jl says:

    Stupid moderation. Let’s see if I can find out what is wrong now:

    Well, I have done the work, and have worked with plenty of native US people who did in fact do the work.

    But I did agree that getting enough people who wanted to work and the farmers together inside one season is probably impossible, especially since GA doesn’t seem to have county employment offices.

    I’m sure they have labor contractors, but they are experts in knowing just how carefully they should check into worker documentation. I doubt they have much connection to the legitimately documented work force, or where to find them on short notice.

    Over the long term, I think the problem with a documented US ag workforce is that, if most of them were to be permanent residents, it is very difficult to live on summer ag work. Most of the undocumented Hispanics would prefer not to live in the US year round. They have family down south, they send money there and they go get work there during the off season.

    You can live on skilled ag work, like skilled pruning, greenhouse work, planting, etc that goes on in winter and early spring. But there is relatively small demand for that kind of labor compared to picking.

    Edit: Maybe wages would equilibrate over the long run, but it would be brutal process in terms of increased poverty for years among the summer picking workforce, and due to the odd nature of the supply/demand. The farmer needs pickers now now now for a short period of time. The workers have no bargaining power outside the picking season (unless they want union pickers in GA).

  89. 89
    Chris says:

    @ lacp –

    What? The farm workers have Gone Galt?

    EXACTLY lol. That was my reaction too when I heard about it the other day.

  90. 90
    jl says:

    My previous comment was for the benefit of @70 stuckinred, who announced that US documented workers could not do the work.

  91. 91
    b-psycho says:

    I’m waiting with baited breath for free market fundamentalists to explain why agribusiness is letting crops rot in the field rather than follow the law of supply and demand and pay more for labor, since there’s a shortage.

    This. A thousand times this.

  92. 92
    Chris says:

    @ qwerty42 –

    In fairness, the agricultural counties opposed this measure, and even the Farm Bureau opposed it when it was being talked about last December. It was big with suburban and exurban counties and groups, but not so much with rural.

    Sounds like the rural conservatives were overruled by the suburban conservative assholes who like to dream about the days of John Wayne rugged individualists and consider themselves the heirs to that tradition, but wouldn’t know an actual rural lifestyle if it sat on their heads.

    (It’s an odd thing; the rural population in this country’s pretty small, but the population that identifies with the label much less so).

  93. 93
    Comrade Colette Collaboratrice says:

    @RossInDetroit:

    Because it would make no sense to give money directly to broke, hungry people.

    Of course not. You can’t trust them not to spend it on steaks, instead of the cheap, processed, packaged food they deserve.

  94. 94
    Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill says:

    Shade Tail@77:

    Has anyone suggested that maybe the farmers should offer actual living wages?

    Sure. I mentioned as much when I posted about this in a private entry on my blog, today.

    I then went on to point out that we have dollar menus at McDonalds and cheap pints of blueberries because of these workers. No one knows for sure what the going price is for this work, but it’s far more than they’re making today. And that’s without the oft-brutal working conditions they operate under.

    You might be willing to pay that, sure. Stuff like this is on my mind when I set out to shop. But: Are you willing to gamble on this segment of an already-weak American economy for that fair pay overall, as a country? And make no mistake, it’s a gamble, it’s a risk, to say “we’ll pay a fair wage, improve your working conditions” and put that on the backs of farmers. And as much as I don’t mind doing that to the AgriConglomerates, a lot of the guys messed up int his as smaller farmers who feel trapped, and who might get put out of business by such edicts.

    It’s an ugly, ugly situation, and it’s been one since we dragged the first slaves over, my ancestors, to handle the business. Don’t think anyone’s got an easy solution to a centuries-old problem, please.

  95. 95
    Mnemosyne says:

    I personally find our dependence on workers satisfied with sub-standard jobs to be morally questionable, much in the vein of sweatshops.

    Some people think I’m stupid to pay a premium for my housecleaners to come from a national agency ($130 every two weeks) but if they’re getting at least minimum wage and I’m not exploiting desperate people, I’m willing to pay more.

  96. 96
    cleek says:

    I’m waiting with baited breath for free market fundamentalists to explain why agribusiness is letting crops rot in the field rather than follow the law of supply and demand and pay more for labor, since there’s a shortage.

    because the farmers will lose more money harvesting it and selling it than they will lose otherwise.

    sale price < picker wages

    might as well eat (or not!) the cost of planting, rather than paying people to pick it, knowing you’ll never cover the pickers’ wages.

  97. 97
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @AAA Bonds #83:

    IDK, maybe capitalism isn’t so great?

    Seems to me that capitalism in general terms is fine. What isn’t working so well today is our regulatory/legal/political regime of globalization in which capital is many, many orders of magnitude more mobile than labor, and thus locally labor has no negotiating leverage at all, and this holds for pretty much any given spot on the surface of the Earth.

    That isn’t capitalism, that’s politics.

  98. 98
    The Populist says:

    LOL, I suspect the meme on the right will be one of the following:

    1) If people would get off their asses and do some menial work instead of beg for government handouts, there wouldn’t be any problems.

    2) Obama caused this emergency simply because he isn’t trying to fix the illegal immigration problem on a federal level.

    Either one of those (or both) will be their meme. See, it’s Obama’s fault for not magically making immigration reform happen. It’s his fault that we can’t have a guest worker program that pays shit.

    Stupid indeed. Hope the farmers of Georgia thank Mr. Deal and their reps on the right by sending them some rotted veggies and fruits!!!

  99. 99
    JPL says:

    OT..When does the birthday party begin for John. I suggest we post youtube videos singing happy birthday.. Just a post of tacky videos… He would love that. In fact he might enjoy an email with a tacky happy birthday video.

  100. 100
    RossInDetroit says:

    Of course not. You can’t trust them not to spend it on steaks, instead of the cheap, processed, packaged food they deserve.

    That was intended as snark but there’s some truth in it. I work in an industry where 80% of the workers make single digits/hour. Low skills and low pay. I’m no nutrition scold but it’s appalling how much carryout fast food people show up with. Eat what you want, but please don’t pass half your paycheck through a drive through window every week. I could eat well for 2 days on what people spend on a bag full of heavily advertised processed fried stuff for lunch.

  101. 101
    Chris says:

    Q ThatLeftTurnInABQ –

    Seems to me that capitalism in general terms is fine. What isn’t working so well today is our regulatory/legal/political regime of globalization in which capital is many, many orders of magnitude more mobile than labor, and thus locally labor has no negotiating leverage at all, and this holds for pretty much any given spot on the surface of the Earth.

    Yeah.

    That’s what makes me kind of a globalization-skeptic. Short of that one-world-government the conspiracy nuts keep telling me about but that I don’t see anywhere, I don’t see how globalized capitalism can exist as anything other than a Gilded-Age-gone-mad model.

    (I too wish that unions were as globalized and flexible as corporations, but even if they were, unions don’t get very far unless there’s a government to back up their members’ rights).

  102. 102
    The Populist says:

    Nothing says “self-sufficient” like a guy who lives 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta in an exurb benefitted by the nearby scaling of electrical, comm and water utilities, established waste disposal, tax paid public safety services, tax paid roads, tax paid schools, tax paid court systems, and tax paid deed filing systems, all while he makes a living shuffling paper in a title company/insurance agency that he gets to in a giant SUV on those tax paid roads…

    Sounds like you are describing Neal Boortz there.

  103. 103
    Elizabelle says:

    Mnemosyne at 95:

    Agreed.

    People need to realize what’s propping up the cheap wages and food.

    There’s an enormous cost.

  104. 104
    JPL says:

    GA farmers pay $120 a day. I’m not sure what constitutes a day but when you realize that you are independent contractors, taxes can be pretty hefty. That is not the $50 dollars a hour that McCain was preaching btw.

  105. 105

    this is more evidence of my hypothesis that conservatives and republicans have absolutely no foresight whatsoever. None.

  106. 106
    Mnemosyne says:

    It’s an ugly, ugly situation, and it’s been one since we dragged the first slaves over, my ancestors, to handle the business. Don’t think anyone’s got an easy solution to a centuries-old problem, please.

    A huge part of the US economy is based on essentially slave labor, especially agriculture. When there were no more literal slaves, there were sharecropping arrangements that amounted to the same thing, or sheriffs more than willing to arrest people so they could be put on chain gangs and do the work for free.

    The ethnic group that gets targeted to provide us with (essentially) slave labor may have changed, but the underlying economics of it never did.

  107. 107
    jl says:

    104 JPL

    Yeah, I always made sure I paid my independent contractor tax payments when I picked.

    The paychecks were always green, with pics of dead presidents on them.

    I felt like a fool reporting the income to the IRS, but I did that much.

    I remember crews were paid almost always in cash. Undocumenteds would split the cash into what they promised to send home to Mexico, or Guatamala, or wherever, and what they needed for themselves here in the US. They paid for money orders, and wire transfers for what they sent home to their families with cash.

    But, I have to admit I never saw what happens in Georgia.

  108. 108
    trollhattan says:

    Speaking of giant foam middle fingers from agribusiness, “We can too spray our poisons into your water.”

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.co.....t-epa.html

  109. 109
    Caz says:

    So are you in favor of illegal aliens then?? Should we just open up the border and let them stream in so there’s plenty of cheap labor to pick the blueberries?? They are in this country illegally, so of course we should run them out. Any state that does is making a wise decision.

    What’s your alternative solution?? To encourage and support illegals??? Seriously.

  110. 110
    Caz says:

    So are you in favor of illegal aliens then?? Should we just open up the border and let them stream in so there’s plenty of cheap labor to pick the blueberries?? They are in this country illegally, so of course we should run them out. Any state that does is making a wise decision.

    What’s your alternative solution?? To encourage and support illegals??? Seriously.

  111. 111
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    The farmers could always pay a livable (minimum?) wage, so that they can possibly attract workers who have a choice in where they work.

    Sure, you’ll have to charge more. Them’s the breaks, dude.

  112. 112
    JPL says:

    jl…That’s what used to happen in GA and now the fruit just rots because farmers can’t understand why people won’t work for 120 dollars a day.

  113. 113
    PeakVT says:

    Hmmm….

    What would happen to consumer food costs if farm wages rose and the extra costs were passed on to consumers? The average earnings of field workers were $9.78 an hour in 2008, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of farm employers, and a 40 percent increase would raise them to $13.69 an hour. If this wage increase were passed on to consumers, the 10 cent farm labor cost of a $1 pound of apples would rise to 14 cents, and the retail price would only rise to $1.04.

    Looks like Georgia farmers have plenty of room to raise wages to get the labor they need.

  114. 114
    Scott P. says:

    Has anyone suggested that maybe the farmers should offer actual living wages? Revolutionary thought, I know, but then they wouldn’t have to worry about finding labor. People would be lining up to work if they got paid decently.

    As noted above, this is not something Georgia farmers can do unilaterally. If increased labor costs mean Georgia tomatoes cost $5 per pound while Florida tomatoes cost $3 a pound, wholesalers aren’t going to buy the Georgia tomatoes.

  115. 115
    jl says:

    @112 JPL – June 22, 2011

    OK, thanks for the info. Too bad the farmers are puzzled.

    The idea of living wage for pickers is nice. I think pickers should get a living wage. But I think only corporate farms with access to credit could pay a living wage.

    For small farmers, I think there are problems. One is cash. Agriculture lives on loans, and it has for a long time. I am not sure any kind of small to medium non corporate farm could survive.

    Cash flow is a big big problem in agriculture, especially right before harvest. Not sure any kind of non corporate farm, even a medium sized one, could survive the instability of having to deal with serious wage negotiations right before harvest, if they had to complete with other sectors in a normal job market.

    The situation is complex.

    And yes, Mr. Caz, I support ‘illegals’ picking fruit here. That’s how its worked for almost one hundred years now in CA, ever since the groups that formed the old Chinese, local native Hispanic, Native American, Japanese, etc. work gangs assimilated into society enough to moved on to more stable employment, even if from a honkie perspective the more stable employment was low class, or segregated.

    And in California, that included African American work gangs, and later, Oakies.

  116. 116

    You could pay farm laborers a living wage without increasing the cost of produce if Obama would just nationalize the fucking farms already

  117. 117
    Woodrow/asim Jarvis Hill says:

    Caz/109:

    So are you in favor of illegal aliens then?

    A astonishing huge proportion of Americans come from illegal immigration over centuries — with, it seems, no ill effect on the body politic as a whole.

    Sure, I don’t condone breaking the law. I would not knowing hire someone who was here without documentation (but I’ve never knowingly been in that situation, either). But neither do I think I’m obliged to thereby support a set of laws that appear to do far more harm to everyone involved, than good. Just because I wouldn’t break the law, doesn’t mean I think the law(s) are just and wise.

    We’re seeing the cost of running them out. We’re seeing the cost of legal absolutism, of morality without conscious, of demagoguery that fails to do good for anyone, and harms everyone save an elite few who never have to worry about cheap produce or finding a new job in a rough economy.

    If it’s in my power to support changes to those laws, I will do so.

  118. 118
    El Cid says:

    __

    ThatLeftTurnInABQ@58: ¿Quien es Juan Galt?

    You think you’re joking. But others aren’t.

    Los editores de Objetivismo.org:
    __
    – están totalmente de acuerdo con Ayn Rand y sus ideas.
    __
    – entienden que Objetivismo es la filosofía expuesta brillantemente por Ayn Rand en sus novelas y sus otros escritos, y no pretenden darle una interpretación nueva a esa filosofía, sino simplemente divulgarla y aplicarla a situaciones concretas en el mundo de hoy.
    __
    – reconocen que toda organización mencionada en el website retiene los derechos de autor de sus artículos, imágenes y videos originales.
    __
    – asumen cualquier error que hayan podido cometer y sugieren al lector que en caso de duda consulte las obras de Ayn Rand o el site oficial de Objetivismo, http://www.aynrand.org.

  119. 119
  120. 120
    piratedan says:

    its all well and good for Ga farmers to pay a living wage for their workers, yet this is what is wrong with immigration reform, what happens when Tennessee, at the behest of its farmers, welcomes illegals into their fields and allows Tennessee farmers to reap the benefits of producing the same product at a reduced cost…I’ll tell you what happens. Ga farmers go belly up. That’s why immigration reform is a national issue and not a state rights issue and all this schadenfreude is pointless, just like all of these idiotic state laws regarding immigration; if only the SCOTUS were stacked with a bunch of ethically challenged morans would we see the laws of our country properly applied.

  121. 121
    Chris says:

    That’s why immigration reform is a national issue and not a state rights issue

    With the world getting smaller every day, it’s getting harder and harder to find things that can be specifically limited to “state” or “local” issues.

    Which is why, as with so many other issues, the conservative obsession with local governance and scaling back the federal government comes at exactly the wrong time. It’s not 1790 anymore. Issues that can be dealt with meaningfully at the state or local level are few and far between compared to back then, and they’re going to keep getting fewer.

  122. 122
    ericblair says:

    Which is why, as with so many other issues, the conservative obsession with local governance and scaling back the federal government comes at exactly the wrong time.

    They only have an obsession with local control when it suits their purposes. Try mandating higher environmental standards in your state, or legalizing marijuana or assisted suicide, and see how far conservatives’ love of local control goes.

  123. 123
    Chris Andersen says:

    People vote for them because they like simple answers to complex problems.

  124. 124
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @brendancalling

    this is more evidence of my hypothesis that conservatives and republicans have absolutely no foresight whatsoever.

    Nah, it is cognitive ability. Red/blue genetics theory is beginning to show an emergent IQ gap between political affiliations.
    Conservatives are stupider.

  125. 125
    Brachiator says:

    Caz @109:

    So are you in favor of illegal aliens then?? Should we just open up the border and let them stream in so there’s plenty of cheap labor to pick the blueberries?? They are in this country illegally, so of course we should run them out. Any state that does is making a wise decision.

    It’s more complex than that. It is not as though illegal immigrants magically transport themselves onto farms. Farmers seek out and hire illegal immigrants, and local, state, and federal authorities happily look the other way.

    And in the past, illegal immigrants would come to this country, work, and return home. Contrary to the fantasy that a lot of Americans (liberals and conservatives alike), not every illegal immigrant is hankering to become an American citizen.

    Labor is mobile. Almost as mobile as capital. If an employer runs out of the state or out of the country, and sets up a factory, using cheap labor, he or she is hailed as a captain of industry. So why is it a good thing if the work goes where the labor is, but it is bad if the labor comes to where the work is, even if the labor consists of illegal immigrants?

    And of course, people got upset because the illegal immigrants refused to stay stuck in low wage agricultural jobs and moved onto other work in construction and other areas. Again, employers happily hired them.

    It’s a complex issue, and while I do not think that employers should be able to hire illegal immigrants when there is easily obtainable US labor, I also do not think that people should be denied the right to work just because they are on the wrong side of a national border.

    This may be a contradiction, but I am happy to be inconsistent (this is a theme today).

  126. 126
    Johnny B says:

    When Ronald Reagan rolled into DC in the Roaring 80s, there was much talk about “revolution.” But, honestly, nothing much changed for those who saw him as a savior. Despite all the talk about “runaway spending,” it never resulted in any change to government services for those afraid to admit they needed them. If you were white with a steady income, the only appreciable difference you saw in your life was increased talk about “welfare queens” and “drug dealers,” and the knowledge that your taxes were lowered as long as you weren’t middle class and knew what “FICA” meant on your paycheck. Oh, what great times they were.

    Well, we’re well past the days where it is easy to hide the consequences of conservatism. There is now a direct correlation between conservative policies and the quality of people’s lives. And the people affected aren’t just those lazy, minorities in the cities. Some of the people affected are the very ones who found the joke oh so funny back in the Roaring 80s.

  127. 127
    WereBear says:

    The point is that Republicans make no attempt to be consistent or sensible. They love to create problems and never used to want to solve them. For decades they just wanted to whip up the base with outrage about immigration, but do nothing about it because they love cheap labor.

    But what we have now is Republicans and Tea Partiers so stupid they believe the rhetoric and are trying to actually do what Republicans have been saying all along.

    Perhaps only this will persuade people of its stupidity. Because using their frontal lobes seems to be out of the question.

  128. 128
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    “Seriously- why do people vote for these guys? I just don’t get it. Democrats are a mess in their own right, but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.”

    I’ve never considered getting a tattoo before, and I probably won’t because all those words would be painful to have engraved on my torso, but if I ever really was going to do such a thing, I swear this is what I’d have memorialized on my bod.

  129. 129
    Svensker says:

    Yes, Caz, everything’s a simple either/or situation. You either support the GA bill or you’re for flooding Georgia with illegal aliens. Just like you’re either for torture or you’re pro-terrorist.

    Try the 3-dimensional universe every now and then, it’s got so many shapes!

  130. 130
    El Cid says:

    It would have been awesome if the US hadn’t done everything it could to keep the Central American, Mexican, and South American economies as undeveloped and poverty-stricken as we could get them.

    On the other hand, the best defense against illegal immigrants coming here and taking our jobs is to have your economy collapse and jobs vanish.

    The latter option seems to be working quite well, with immigration rates being pretty minimal these days.

  131. 131
    SgaileBeairt says:

    This is exactly what happened after the Black Death. Massive underpopulation (+/- 50%) led to serfs demanding better pay and benefits as crops rotted in the field. The government cracked down on them with rules forcing people to work regardless. Eventually, the Peasants’ Revolts were the result.

  132. 132
    uptown says:

    Of course the Democrats big problem is all those ex-Republicans who fled the wingnuts and dragged us to the center right (present company excepted).

  133. 133
    Chris says:

    Well, we’re well past the days where it is easy to hide the consequences of conservatism. There is now a direct correlation between conservative policies and the quality of people’s lives. And the people affected aren’t just those lazy, minorities in the cities. Some of the people affected are the very ones who found the joke oh so funny back in the Roaring 80s.

    The further the country goes down the conservative passageway, the more it suffers the consequences. The more it suffers the consequences, the more intricate, outlandish and plain lunatic the web of lies that has to be built to explain what’s going on, blame it on the liberals and convince the country to keep moving onward.

    Which explains why the national discourse has gotten so fucking unhinged (and will continue to do so) in just thirty years. Bigger and bigger catastrophes need bigger and bigger lies to explain them away, which in turn set the stage for even bigger catastrophes down the line… etc.

  134. 134
    Chris says:

    It would have been awesome if the US hadn’t done everything it could to keep the Central American, Mexican, and South American economies as undeveloped and poverty-stricken as we could get them.

    Have said it before, will say it again: the entire world would be a whole different ball game if we’d supported democracy in Mossadegh’s Iran, Arbenz’s Guatemala and Lumumba’s Zaire back in the fifties, and encouraged the rest of the third world to follow in their footsteps.

  135. 135
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    David Hunt at #48

    Brother, you did fucking nail it right there. I didn’t even read the rest of the thread, so if you’ve been getting a lot of compliments, let me add mine.

  136. 136
    mclaren says:

    Seriously–why do people vote for these guys?

    Tough words coming from a guy who voted straight Republican until 2005, Cole.

  137. 137
    DPirate says:

    Unemployment is 10% (in fantasy counting – real unemployment is more likely 15+%). They will get their harvest in unless they are stuck in cooperative pricing due to governmental regulation.

    How the hell can democrats call labor shortages bad? It boggles the mind!

  138. 138
    chris says:

    No doubt this bill was motivated by xenophobia but it may have the unintended benefit of raising wages for agricultural labor.

  139. 139
    Triassic Sands says:

    Seriously- why do people vote for these guys? I just don’t get it. Democrats are a mess in their own right, but these guys are just incompetent, stupid, and evil.

    No offense, John, but they’re the same guys you were voting for not that long ago. (Although, I admit, they do seem to get worse every year.)

    People vote for them for the following reasons (one or more may apply to any individual voter):

    Ideological rigidity
    Stupidity
    Ignorance
    Stupignorance (a combination of the previous two — very common in the US)
    Habit/Familial Custom
    Greed

    It’s not amazing that people vote for them. It’s amazing that so many people vote for them when they are so obviously incompetent and dishonest.

  140. 140
    Chris says:

    Triassic Sands,

    You left out “spite.” A simple, petty, but powerful reason for lots of people.

  141. 141
    Paul in KY says:

    I’m coming in late here, but HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA (all done in the Nelson Muntz voice)!

  142. 142
    someofparts says:

    Well, I’ll tell you why one local friend votes for them. As she emailed me yesterday – new bumper sticker coming out with Wiener running for Pres and Holder for VP, so you have the Wiener-Holder ticket! yuk yuk yuk – get it y’all!

    Don’t think toothless redneck either. Think well-spoken, well-educated upper middle class white in high-income suburb.

  143. 143
    Frank says:

    Hey, the workers went Galt and withheld their productivity. Though I doubt this is what the Randroids had in mind.

  144. 144
    Mitchell Young says:

    Nice stenography for the Ag Business lobby.

    Fact is that the vast majority of illegals don’t work in agriculture.

  145. 145
    Mitchell Young says:

    Meanwhile, the mechanization of supposedly unmechanizable farm labor goes on.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    Notice the Mexicans just standing around.

  146. 146
    Mitchell Young says:

    “The Latinos picked six truckloads of cucumbers compared to one truckload and four bins for the probationers.”

    John Henry or Juan Enrique always loses.

    Mechanized cuke harvesting

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiXC2tHnUss

    The fact is you guys, for whatever twisted reason, just to massively change US demographics more quickly than is already taking place.

  147. 147
    Mitchell Young says:

    And Georgia’s number one crop, peanuts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  148. 148
    Mitchell Young says:

    And onions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

    Thanks — you guys have opened up a whole new youtube world for me. American ag, where it doesn’t rely on stoop labor, is hella efficient.

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