Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just a touch of racism

GA has passed tough immigration laws, with this argument: we have 10 percent unemployment here, let us get rid of the illegal Hispanics and give the work to Americans. As a result, farmers in GA have a tough time finding enough workers this season, there are still 11,000 jobs openings to work in the field.
Unrepentent Governor Nathan Deal now tries to give the jobs to probationers, and it does not seem to work either.
As a result our three local TVs here in Savannah report this with comments like: "Americans do not want to work in the sun for 12 dollars an hour." Of course they say "Americans", but they think "Blacks."
It is a ridiculous statement. It is not that people "do not want to" work in the fields, it is that they do not know how. Work in the field is intensive: you cannot take a bus to go home, you got to stick around the farm to start early, when the temperature has not risen yet. Migrant seasonal workers are used to it, they pack and leave their home for the season. Georgians of any race have lost this capacity: they want a job, but they also want to be at home at night. For Pete's sake, it is not just a "job", it is a different lifestyle. A policy like this can only be successful if you spend a lot of money educating people and encouraging them to become seasonal migrants, and nobody knows if it would work. And I do not think that probationers are especially "lazy", I think that months in jail are not physically and mentally preparing you very well for hard work in the fields.

All this lack of workers means less money for the farmers, loss of foodstuff, more cost for the consumers. Our governor has not thought things through. I am sure he will say that it is the fault of president Obama, his usual scapegoat.
We need immigrants or we don't: it should not be a matter of political ideology, but a matter of good sense. If our farmers need seasonal workers, why don't we give seasonal work permits to the people who can do the work?

NOTE: Local stats say that about 8% of the white labor force in GA is unemployed compared to 14% of the black labor force. Black labor force is about one third of the total GA labor force (27%). Ga has 150,000 people on probation, about 2 times more blacks than whites.We got in addition 50 to 60,000 inmates, ruining the state finances, a testimony to the quality of our school system.


Cerulean Bill said...

Its an interesting ripple effect. To get people to be willing to work in that environment, you have to either find people for whom it is an improvent, or be willing to make the environment attractive -- or at least not repellant -- to those who otherwise would pass. Apparently, your governor feels that simply having unfulfilled jobs will make them attractive to unemployed people. At some point, he'll be right -- people WILL take the jobs, in desperation. At that point, he'll say "See?"

Claude Lambert said...

Hi Bill, you got a point. I am not quite sure all people are as logical as you are though, I remember in the 70s in France there was a shortage of people willing to scale fish in cold rooms, and they just had to "outsource" these jobs. Jobs come with a lot of cultural stuff; for instance in Ireland, there are still "catholic jobs" (like hairdresser) and "protestant jobs" (like cop). People in France are less willing to move for a job than Americans. Humans are complicated.
Good to hear from you, when do you go to France?