More Hot Jobs Stuff
Jul 21, 2010
By Steve Cornett
The Senate is about to extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Without passing along any opinions your correspondent may have on that matter, let us agree that such action pretty well renders moot many of the comments filed after last week’s post about the chances of Arizona’s 300,000 unemployed people filling 50,000 seasonal jobs in agriculture.
It’s my mistake that so many readers seemed to think I was berating welfare and unemployment payments. And unfortunate that so many anonymice forgot their manners. Again.
For purposes of the subject at hand, berating the jobless is off-topic.
We need to talk about a serious guest worker program, one that involves minimal red tape. There are several points we should consider.
Point one is that we’re—not even you young folks—ever going to live long enough to see the end of welfare in the U.S. Even if we had the political will to end such programs, employers would have to fret about the work ethic of people who would choose to accept such payments rather than work. If you don’t believe me, try hiring one of those “will work for food” dudes from the street corners.
A weak work ethic is not something you’ll find to be common in the folks who are now crossing the border. So, point two is that guest workers would be better help
Immigrants would work harder and break less stuff than displaced welfare recipients or unemployed journalists. Trust me.
Point three is, as I mentioned a few days back, these people are already here. They don’t have work at home. There is plenty of work in the U.S., despite the advertised unemployment rate. There will be no law and no fence strong enough to keep the two separated, even if such were the wisest course of action.
Point four: A guest worker program would create jobs for Americans.
I’m remembering Hereford, Texas, back during the bracero program. There were vegetables grown all about. There were packing houses and vegetable brokers.
There was a whole section of town devoted to servicing the needs of the workers. From ropa usada to groceries, there was a whole economy built around them, an industry that provided jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for local, legal, residents.
That’s all gone now. The region around Hereford has long since gone back to commodity crop production. Yes, Mr. Anonymous from last week, subsidized commodity production. Involving chemicals! There are plenty of illegals available to hire around here, mind you. But nobody is going to try to build a business around them. Too iffy.
Politically, we should recognize that we’re GOING to eat hand-picked, hand-tended, fruits and vegetables in the U.S. The choice is whether they will be hand picked and tended in Chile or Mexico or in the U.S. Will they be subject to U.S. quality controls or not? Will the return to capital and risk accrue to producers and retailers in the U.S. or elsewhere?
The unions—including the near-sainted farm workers union—drove all that out of the country. So who, in the U.S., at least, is the better off for that?
The Obama Administration claims to be all about “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Unless they are prepared to force the unemployed to take those hot, hot, hot jobs in Arizona, they should endorse a serious guest worker program.