Inconsistency in our Approach to Farming Jobs

Have you noticed the almost constant lamentations lately about how President Trump’s executive orders enforcing immigration law will lead to crops rotting in the fields, a dearth of cheap laborers willing to work hard for little pay, and higher prices for our food?

Think about this.

On the one hand, “The Left” screams that we should implement minimum wages of $15/hour, while at the same time, they scream that no American will take agricultural jobs because they’re ‘too hard’, we need “immigrants” to do these jobs that “no American will do”, and paying agricultural workers more would cause a rise in prices of food.

So, if I understand correctly, it’s ok to demand higher minimum wages from non-agricultural businesses, and the assumption is that paying higher wages in, for example, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonalds, etc. will not cause higher prices, but it’s NOT ok to demand higher minimum wages from agricultural businesses (farmers) because it WILL cause higher food prices?

Am I the only one seeing an inconsistency here?

How is it that higher labor costs impact prices in one segment of the economy, but not another? Am I missing something in my understanding of basic economics? Costs go up, and businesses “adapt” somewhere. Either they raise prices, cut other costs, or take less in profits (if they can and still stay in business).

On the other hand, have you considered that we have a LOT of people on welfare and unemployment, as well as a LOT of people who receive all sorts of other governmental assistance, such as housing, food stamps, subsidized healthcare, but who either do not work, or who earn less than $1,000 per month (the threshold for many assistance programs)?

Why can able-bodied people on government assistance not work in agriculture, and use their wages to offset the assistance they receive from the government?

Because the work is “too hard”? Because it doesn’t pay “enough”? Even if we continue to give SOME assistance, if someone works 40 hours a week at $10/hour, that’s roughly $1600 per month which could be subtracted from their government assistance. Why should we not do that?

If we assume that only immigrants, or illegal immigrants, can or will do agricultural work because it doesn’t pay well and it’s hard, what are we really saying? That these people are so desperate that they will essentially work as indentured servants or slaves? In what way is that acceptable? Why should we not demand that able-bodied Americans who receive benefits but do not work should not take these jobs in order to keep their benefits? Why is it incumbent on us to subsidize people who are not willing to take ANY available job?

And, if these jobs really ARE “too hard”, or don’t pay enough, then perhaps we should resign ourselves to the fact that we’re going to have to pay a little more for our food because we will pay workers who work those “too hard” jobs a living wage.

You can’t have it both ways.




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