Friday, February 10, 2017

Buyer's remorse strikes again

In the three weeks since The Donald took the oath of office and moved into the White House, there's been a fair amount of hand-wringing and "holy crap, I didn't think he'd really do it" emanating from the folks who voted for Cheeto Mussolini. The latest surge in buyer's remorse seems to be coming from the agricultural sector.

"Farmers" (and I use the word loosely, because I'm not sure it applies when you're running an industrial operation involving thousands of acres and relying on hundreds of workers) in California and elsewhere are now freaking out over visions of a labor shortage. The one agency that seems eager to follow directions from the White House is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, aka ICE. There were record numbers of deportations under the Obama administration, but even so ICE was a tad restrained in some areas. Well, from the perspective of undocumented immigrants, those have become the good old days. ICE is now going after anyone and everyone who might be here illegally.

Not surprisingly, a good number of the undocumented workers in this country are farm workers. Let's face it. For various reasons -- changing demographics that resulted in a more urbanized population, for example -- there aren't a whole lot of people who actually want to work on farms. The work that needs to be done tends to be physically demanding, involves miserable working conditions, and pays shit wages. There are, however, still a lot of crops and livestock that require people to get them to market. Dairy farms need real live people to attach the milking machines to the cows. Crops like strawberries are too delicate to mechanically harvested so have to be picked by hand. Depending on the fruit, not as many bodies are needed for harvesting (I have seen mechanized blueberry pickers in action) but you still need people to do the seasonal pruning. And so on. You don't get food to the supermarket without a lot of labor being involved on the production end.

Which brings me to the buyer's remorse. Farmers tend to vote Republican, whether it's in California or Nebraska. In the most recent election, naturally, they voted overwhelmingly for Trump. Trump is now following through on his promise to crack down on undocumented brown people living and working in this country. ICE has already begun deporting persons they were ignoring during the previous administration. Once the easy targets have been swept up, how much longer do you think it will be before they resume massive raids on factories and farm fields?

Which brings us to all those Republican farmers who are suddenly realizing they just screwed themselves. Dude, the Human Yam talked loud and long about deporting undocumented immigrants. Did you believe he was going to make an exception for the Guatemalens who are picking your lettuce?

Actually, they probably did believe that of all the promises their candidate made, the one that would affect them most directly is the one the Trumpster would renege on. If it didn't mean that the price of fresh produce is going to start climbing, I'd be laughing. Just how out of touch of reality do people have to be to vote for a candidate who makes promises to do something and then freak out when the candidate actually follows through? Farmers freaking out about losing stoop labor isn't quite as amusing as the ignorant rubes who voted for Trump because he vowed to get rid of Obamacare and now are panicking because the Republicans are working on repealing the Affordable Care Act -- "What do you mean Obamacare and the ACA are the same thing?! No one told me that!!" -- but it comes close.

In short, when a candidate has a list of promises he's said he plans to keep, what makes anyone think that the one that impacts you where it hurts the most is the one he's going to ignore? The stupid, it burns. 


  1. One of the problems with farm labour is seasonality. A friend of mine (my son worked for him for 11 years) runs a honey farm with 50000 hives. He employs about 30 people at peak honey flow which is July August and maybe 15 to 20 April to October. He pays the going rate for good semi-skilled labour but cannot hire anyone locally because anyone who is any good already has full time work somewhere. When he was small, 1000-2000 hives, he could get by with the sons of friends and family. Lots of kids my sons age worked for him. His workers now come from Mexico and I think Costa Rica. They can earn enough in the season to keep their families for a year. He would prefer to hire locally but those that show up rarely last a week.

  2. I find myself watching 'Colony', a show I was not previously fond of, and buying Tequila while it is still available (and I don't drink it very often!), and perusing cook books and how-to books for ways to manage when eggs, meat, poultry, fresh fish and fresh vegetables are not available or too pricey. I fear we are well and truly fucked...


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.