Friday, December 15, 2006

Government attack on meatpackers to push up food prices.

The Gestopo like raid conducted by immigration brownshirts apparently resulted in the arrest of American citizens and not just workers who lacked permission from the gods in Congress to hold a job. Jill Cashen of the United Food and Commercial Workers union said that "Stormtroopers came in with machine guns" and confiscated all green cards arresting everyone hold said cards whether the cards were real or not.

She said the arrested, which included legal immigrants, were put and buses and have vanished. "We're still trying to find out where the buses went." She said that children of these workers were left behind at day care centers because "Nobody knows where the people [the parents] are." The union says that the numbers of people rounded up and taking away could be as many as 5,000.

The Boston Globe reports that all consumers in America will now suffer as a result of this attack by the Bush administration on the meatpackers.

Consumers and the industry itself may be feeling the repercussions in a shortage of meatpackers, higher wage costs and, ultimately, higher prices for the beef that lands on America's tables at home and in restaurants.

Some analysts see the current emphasis on enforcement in the meatpacking industry as the precursor to getting an immigration bill through Congress -- by demonstrating the government's capability to enforce laws at the work site.

"The meatpacking industry has become dependent on an unauthorized labor force, and it is not good government to destroy an entire industry. In some way, there is going to be a meeting of the minds," said Mark Reed, a former immigration regional director who now runs his own consulting business, Border Management Strategies, in Tucson, Ariz.

Every labor-intensive industry -- the hotel industry, the construction industry, agriculture -- will be similarly impacted, he said.

Agricultural economist James Mintert, of Kansas State University, says that these moves will mean a short of labor in the meatpacking industry forcing up labor costs in an attempt to try and persuade native born Americans to get off their butts and take the job. (Okay, he didn't sya to "get off their butts", I did.) He said the result will be higher food costs. He noted Canadian meatpacking plants don't have access to undocumented workers and that their costs are much higher as a result. No doubt the Canadians will applaud this raid as it will make US companies less competitive. One anti-immigrant activist said: "If the price of meat goes up a little bit, so what?"

When the Racist Right calculate the "cost of immigration" they typically do not include the costs their policies inflict on consumers in those calculations. And as we have shown they leave out taxes paid by illegals, such as contributions to social security, in order to make sure the costs to government are higher than the benefits. Add in the SS contributions and the benefits exceed the costs. Add in the services they offer and how their labor is helping keep down food costs and the net benefit is even higher.