Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Do the Math

    I wasn't going to post today but after reading an article intended to push for support of illegal aliens in our local rag I had to say something. Yesterday the Register Guard rag had an article titled Immigration curbs wreaking havoc on berry picking. By the title alone one might fall into some depressive state, be overcome with fear, or have nightmares of tons of rotting strawberries because there might be a few less illegal aliens. One sentence stood out - "Independent labor contractor Arnulfo Sandoval Perez told The Statesman-Journal of Salem that some strawberry farmers are losing $10,000 per day.
    Ok class - time for some math. Who can tell me what kind of people I'd be able to get to pick strawberries if I had $10,000 a day? First, keep in mind that is what is claimed some farmers are loosing and doesn't actually include the cost of what they spend on labor. I'd have to assume, being prudent business people, they would pay that instead of taking a lose. So - I could pay 1,000 workers $10/day, I could pay 500 workers $20/day, I could pay 100 workers $100/day, I could pay 50 workers $200/day. In that later case if they worked 10 hours/day that would mean these 50 workers would be paid $20 dollars an hour! Better yet, as in the picture above, their farms can be opened to the public for picking for a price. Speaking of that picture I see regular looking people picking strawberries. HEY - according to those liberal thinkers regular people wouldn't dare pick strawberries! I could have picked from hundreds of pictures of regular folk - including children - in strawberry fields.


    The Rambling Taoist said...

    Not to say that I agree with your math, BUT, if your math is correct, why isn't your solution being employed? Why do you suppose these farmers are allowing the berries to rot in the field?

    Keep in mind that a great many of these farmers are NOT liberals -- More likely Republicans. They've fought against recognizing the farmworker's union, PCUN, and they fought against including farmworkers in minimum wage regulations. So, why do you suppose these fiscal conservatives are voluntarily willing to lose so much money each day?

    Pundit said...

    The answer to Trey's question is very, very simple. It is supply and demand, really. If illegals were stopped immediately, the farmers would be compelled immediately, to hire local workers, possibly at a higher price. But maybe not. College students, highschool students, people in good health looking for extra income that enjoy being outside and not be required to undergo the stress of decision-making, all would qualify to do the work. As long as we let illegals in under this rubric nonsense that we need them to do work others won't do, the farmers won't hire other people. If illegals were stopped on Monday, I will guarantee that by Wednesday the fields will be full of new pickers because anybody in agriculture will do whatever it takes to get the crop to market and not lose it. I used to buy into this "Americans won't do the work mexicans will do because the wage is too low" until I went back to college and saw what people of all ages, races, and backgrounds will do--even temporarily--for lower wages. Myself included.

    : JustaDog said...

    It was liberal thinkers and not farmers that were mentioned in my post. You are correct in that many of these farmers are hard working Republicans. They are probably Democrats as well, just not so many liberals since hard work is is a concept foreign to liberals (my opinion).

    As for trey's question I think pundit answered it quite well, thanks pundit!

    Keeping in mind pickers usually pick strawberries in the morning hours when it's cooler here is some more math: 200 people picking for 5 hours each day could still be paid $10 an hour for that $10,000 that senoir Perez claims some farmers are loosing out on. Still higher than minimum wage and more in-line with the "working wage" liberals cry about. Now excuse me, but I'm sure there are lots of families that are barely getting by that would love to go out in a field and make that kind of money. A mom, dad, 2 kids would mean a daily income of $200 each day using the above example. Times 5 days that's $1,000 each week or $4,000 each month.

    You really still want to try to convince anyone that only transient Mexicans are willing to do that kind of work? people of all ages, races, and backgrounds will do--even temporarily--for lower wages - what pundit said IS the bottom line.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    Your answer is a theoretical one. If it's so obvious, why isn't it happening in the fields right now? Why are strawberries rotting?

    Pundit said...

    How clear does it have to be? Stop the illegals from coming in, and penalize the American businesses for hiring those that do. its pretty clear. That matter will clear itself up real quick if a crop loss is on the line, and we make a mandatory issue out of not hiring illegals. IF WE COULD GET A PATRIOT ACT PASSED AS QUICK AS WE DID AFTER 9/11---SOMETHING ON THE ORDER OF THREE WEEKS--THEN WE COULD DO THE SAME WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.

    : JustaDog said...

    If there are strawberries rotting it is only because the owners make that choice. There are options, and that is the option they choose. Their choice. A lack of illegal aliens has nothing to do with their choice.

    It really isn't complicated unless you make it so.

    Anonymous said...

    why haven't the prices of berries gone up in the stores?

    Gullyborg said...

    what Trey is missing is that, the host's argument assumes that farmers really are losing $10K a day, which is assinine. Berries are rotting in the field and no one is picking them because there are more berries growing than the economy can support locally. There is no shortage of berries in supermarkets and the prices are low.

    The obvious solution for the farmers is for the taxpayers to subsidize their loses. We have 4 million people in Oregon, so even if there are like 400 farmers losing $10K each day, that is only a buck per Oregonion. Surely it is worth it. [/sarcasm]

    Pundit said...

    Gullyborg makes a good point. The problem is not really all that bad maybe. If it was, it would be headline material instead of trial circuses like Michael Jackson.