20 May 2007

How About a Nice $35 Tomato?


Conservatives are still raving today over the proposed Immigration Bill.

Legalizing the status of (an estimated) 12 million illegal aliens in the United States is being looked upon by people like Mark Steyn as a capitulation.

If so, it’s a capitulation to reality.

Illegal aliens are here, because Americans want to hire them. because the US economy needs them.

They snuck over the Rio Grande in many cases, rather than arriving on steamships at Ellis Island and doing the appropriate paperwork, because Ellis Island is closed, and legal admission to the US via airports and bus stations was not an option.

I think quite of lot of my conservative compatriots have lost their marbles on this particular issue. How would you get rid of the 12 million+ people here, even if you wanted to? House to house searches? A new system of commissars inspecting every American farm, construction site, restaurant, assembly plant, and front lawn to catch people violating the law… by working?

Suppose all this was even possible. You waved your magic wand, and all those Hispanics were instantly gone.

Who’s going to harvest American crops you buy at the supermarket? Whose going to fill the shelves?

When you eat out, who’s going to bus the tables and wash the dishes?

When you want a house, who’s going to frame it and nail up the sheetrock?

Who’s going to mow your lawn and mine?

I’ve heard the answer from voices on the right: If you pay enough, you can attract native-born American labor.

Regional conditions vary, of course, but in a lot of places I’ve lived you’d have to pay high school dropouts like investment bankers to get them to work at all, and they’d still do lousy jobs.

If you eliminated cheap immigrant labor, the economic impact would be devastating to this country. The price of everything you buy would skyrocket. Produce, processing, and delivery costs would go right through the roof. Restaurant prices would multiply. Every little thing you buy in a retail store would go up dramatically in price, so that native-born stock boys and counter clerks could make big bucks. Prices of new homes would rise enormously, and their size and amenities would shrink.

How would you like $50 movie tickets? $35 supermarket tomatoes? $50 McDonald’s Happy Meals? And you’d be mowing your own lawn.

Of course, not all pay scales would rise. You’d just transfer a lot more manufacturing, assembly, and food processing jobs permanently out of the country.

Conservatives ought to be working on the issue of assimilation, and looking to welcome to the Republican Party a major new constituency of Roman Catholic, family-oriented, hard-working people. Those Hispanics will pay taxes, and be just as annoyed as the rest us of us by liberal elitist busybodies trying to tell them how to live.

5 Feedbacks on "How About a Nice $35 Tomato?"

Sallie Parker

The indians and mestizos who make up the Mexican and Central American aliens are almost never devout, practicing Catholics. At least I’ve never met any. As for family-oriented and hard-working… well, most immigrants are like that, at least for the first couple of generations.

As for $15 tomatoes…organic ‘heirloom’ tomatoes, those weird hand-grown green-and-yellow monstrosities that taste like real garden-grown food (unlike the plastic red things picked by illegal aliens and packaged by agribusiness), run about four or five dollars a pound in New York. That’s a three-dollar tomato, at worst. And the (American) growers make a profit!

Cheap food, like cheap Walmart made-in-Red-China-by-slave-labor trinkets, keep some voters happy in the short term. But they are not helpful and they are not necessary.

If we must give up cheap Happy Meals, then let’s do it.

Sallie Parker

Oh wait. You said $35 tomato! If Alain Ducasse prepares it, okay.


Sorry, I’m already paying for that $35 tomato. Just not at the grocery store. I paid for it through higher property taxes because the illegals get the same “free” public education as my kids. I also paid for it through higher medical cost. Try going to a Phoenix emergency room during flu season. Does crime cost a community? Look at what portion of crime is caused in Arizona by illegals. How about the cost of jail for the illegals convicted of a serious crime. Who do you think pays for their incarceration?

If these 12 million illegals were able to get here without a government program, why do people think we need a program to get them back out of the country? Cut of the employment and housing and they will find a way back home. On foot. Just like they got here.

I love the idea of a guest worker program. But you have to apply at the border. You have to pay taxes, follow our laws and learn our language. You have to live up to the same social contracts as the rest of the US citizens.

Sorry for the tirade but I spent too much time trying to teach my children to live by the rules only to see those that don’t get rewarded.

Robert Humelbaugh

I’d rather pay higher prices for tomatos, then the taxes I’ll pay when 12 million people, AND thier little bambinos go on welfare, and we pay 50% taxes, on top of all the other tax we pay. They will not bring a net gain to the tax base. They will be a net loss. Who will take it in the teeth?

You and me. Thank Hector for me.

Robert Humelbaugh

I’d rather pay higher prices for tomatoes, then the taxes I’ll pay when 12 million people, AND their little bambinos go on welfare, and we pay 50% taxes, on top of all the other tax we pay. They will not bring a net gain to the tax base. They will be a net loss. Who will take it in the teeth?

You and me. Thank Hector for me.


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