Our Self-Imposed Labor Shortage

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When California isn't busy committing economic suicide, it's being strangled by the federal government. The latest bad news to emanate from there concerns crop losses due to a "labor drought":

Some crops aren't get picked this season due to a lack of workers.

"We just left them in the field," [farmer Chris Underwood] said.


The Western Growers Association told CNBC its members are reporting a 20 percent drop in laborers this year. Stronger border controls are keeping workers from crossing into the U.S. illegally, and the current guest worker program is not providing enough bodies.
Interestingly, American workers aren't filling the void.

But California simply provides the latest, most shocking example of how our misguided throttling of immigration is harming our economy. Jeff Jacoby reports that Rupert Murdoch recently met with the mayors of Boston and New York to discuss immigration reform.
[Boston mayor Thomas] Menino ran through some local numbers. There are 8,800 immigrant-owned small business in Boston, he said, producing nearly $3.7 billion in annual sales and employing more than 18,000 people. New Americans have swelled Boston's population to 625,000, its healthiest level since 1970 -- healthy because "more people mean more talent, more ideas, and more innovation." They also mean more revenue: Boston's immigrants spend $4 billion per year, generating $1.3 billion in state and federal taxes. For generations immigrants have rejuvenated Boston, said the mayor. "They make this old city new again and again."
It is good to hear that there is some receptiveness to immigration reform, but Jacoby doesn't provide details on what proposals, if any, these men came up with. I'm not, however, exactly holding my breath for them to announce that they support a combination: of moving to open immigration, reforming the process of obtaining citizenship, and phasing out our government's numerous regulations and economic controls.

-- CAV

No comments: