Apparently, Our Great State Tragedy is that All the People With Work Ethics were Aborted

Y’all, I have an anonymous source!  Well, I already kind of had an anonymous source in Say Uncle in that I don’t know who he is and he keeps me informed about stupid dog legislation.

But this anonymous source is different in that I have no idea who he or she is, nor even what I should call him or her.  I will dub my anonymous source “Señor el Gato.”  Just for fun, because I’m so tickled to have an anonymous source and, if Señor el Gato ever gets me involved in a scandal, we can call it El Gatogate, which has an awesome ring to it.

Anyway, Señor el Gato tipped me off to this juicy exchange at the House Ag Committee meeting on Tuesday.  You can watch the video for yourself, but, because I don’t want you to miss out on the crucial parts, I have transcribed some of it for you.  I should warn you there’s some dubious use of “mine” in a way that might make some of you uncomfortable with the first speaker and I apologize ahead of time that I’m not going to unpack this in the way it deserves in this post.  There’s just too much here and I’m going to need to mull it over a while.  Okay, here goes.

Ag Committee Meeting

1/15/08

Starting at about 19:50

Aaron Swafford addresses the group and it starts to get interesting:

“And the last thing.  I really don’t know how to say this, but I’ll just… As… the U.S. citizen… the workforce is just not there.  I’ll give you a personal example.  In the last four and a half years I’ve had three U.S. citizens apply for work.  One… I hire ’em without even checking their resources, er their background.  I mean just to have somebody.

“One of ’em never showed up.  One of ’em made it to the first break.  I have had one that’s been with me about nine months now, a good employee, but I’ve had three.  And we work about thirty people on a yearly basis.

“The people I deal with, Hispanics, uh, as a general rule, are good quality people, have a good work ethic, a good family ethic.  They take care of one another.”

Swafford goes on about an employee who’s been here 18 years and is being forced to return “home” even though this is his home.

Representative Bell takes the mic.

He goes on at length about how he hears the complaining about small businessmen not wanting to be the police blah blah blah. 

We join the festivities again at 22:50.

Bell speaking:

“I’ve also heard that the workforce is not there.  As you’ve expressed, you’ve had three American citizens over the last couple years… apply with you.  Uhh… and I would… I would be for, at the federal level… upping the quota limits… the immigration quotas from each country to allow more people to come in.

But first and foremost, these people broke the law when they came into our country and even this man who’s been here eighteen years, he broke the law when he came in.  And as many good things, and I know some of… I live in a big dairy farming area, McMinn County, you know, and Monroe (sp?) County… which I also represent as many good people, Hispanics and, um, Guatemalans and Hondurans that are working there, you know also then from southeast Tennessee what’s been in the news recently about the MS 13 gang problems that are happening in the Ocoee… er the Cherokee National Parks down in Ocoee and Polk counties.  It’s happening in Chattanooga.

And so with this good is coming a lot of bad that’s hurting our society.  The drain that it’s putting on our society… on our resources… in education… in healthcare…

And so, while I understand your concerns as a businessman, there is another side to this as well that is hurting society as a whole.”

Then the business dude reminds Bell that he’s talking about people who are too old to go to school and then says “I can’t speak for everybody but I know mine and you have to force them to go to the doctor when they get hurt or when they get sick because most of ’em are scared of ’em.

Now they do use it, but they also pay sales tax [Tennessee has no income tax; the state derives its revenue from sales tax–b.] just like everybody else.  They pay 8.5 million in social security annually that will never be used.

I know what you’re saying.”

Bell then complains about how many Hispanic kids go to school.  They go on to talk about how they have to pay more than minimum wage because they have so little unemployment and it’s hard work and they have to pay to keep labor.  And Aaron Swafford explains again that there aren’t any non-Hispanics even applying for the jobs he has available.  Without the Hispanic workforce, his industry would crumble.

Blah, blah, blah.  Blame the feds.  Blame the kids for hogging up school space.  Blame the “illegals” for hogging healthcare.

Back to Bell.  He wants to conscript high schoolers into the industry.  Now, here we are at 31:57.  Bell’s going to opine:

“I’m going to make one more comment with this.  I’m not going to address Mr. Swafford with this but I’m… but this is, uh, this shortage of workers and, uh, especially in the agricultural field and, uh, in other jobs… that may or may not be a little more temporary in nature… seasonal in nature… Since 1973, we have killed fifty million unborn children and if we hadn’t done that, maybe our labor problems would not be as severe.”

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11 thoughts on “Apparently, Our Great State Tragedy is that All the People With Work Ethics were Aborted

  1. Pingback: Green Tee Readings » Blog Archive » Maybe, just maybe, you should pay more

  2. “Since 1973, we have killed fifty million unborn children and if we hadn’t done that, maybe our labor problems would not be as severe.”

    And MAYBE we would have a prison based economy, where roughly half of that fifty million would be behind bars and the other half would be working for CCA.

    We would still need the illegals to pick tomatoes, dig ditches and, well, build prisons.

  3. Hey, he’s a politician for our times. When one of his bullshit talking points crumbled under cross-examination, he didn’t hesitate to reach into his bag and pull up an other one. He’ll get reelected.

  4. > They go on to talk about how they have to pay more than minimum wage because they have so little unemployment and it’s hard work and they have to pay to keep labor.

    Maybe someone should explain to these businessmen that “minimum wage” is a floor, not a ceiling. Why does anyone feel sorry for them that they have to pay more than minimum wage? Isn’t this the “invisible hand” of the “free market” telling them that they have to pay more? Why the whining?

  5. Indifferent children, I believe what’s going on is that the representative is looking for some reason to blame this dude for why Americans won’t work for him. If only he paid more, then white people would be flocking to work in hot, backbreaking labor. So, this guy isn’t, I don’t believe, looking for sympathy, but trying to say that he pays comparable to what other jobs in the county pay and what other jobs in the industry pay and he’s still not getting any Americans (which I think we can read as ‘white people’).

    I didn’t hear it as him whining. I heard it as him defending himself against this idea that he’s only hiring illegal immigrants so that he can not have to pay them minimum wage.

  6. Pingback: Volunteer Voters » Can You Get Up Before A State Legislative Committee And Admit You Hire Illegals?

  7. That cracks me up. “Since 1973, we have killed fifty million unborn children and if we hadn’t done that, maybe our labor problems would not be as severe.” –Right after he got done saying that Americans don’t want to do the work at the pay he’s offering. So why would he suggest he needs more of the same people who won’t do the work?

  8. Because then the unemployment rate would be so high that people would be glad to do heavy physical labor for $5/hour.

  9. Ah, of course — that’d make anyone want to raise a child, wouldn’t it? “Do your part America! Raise a child to be used for underpaid heavy labor to make me rich!”

  10. It’s too bad we couldn’t untangle the two or three hot-button issues from the other one that is less so. I think it would be interesting to find out if the work ethic of American citizens has, indeed deteriorated. Something beyond anecdotal “these kids today” stories.

    On one hand, it’s a no-brainer. I can look at my own family to know that there was a time when American citizens were willing to absolutely work their butts off for long hours (and little pay). The stories my sharecropper grandfather used to tell me! Even in my own life – in my 20’s I pulled 70-80 hr shifts at the various restaurants I managed.

    But, a second look gives us pause, because the raw productivity data says that we are indeed still working very hard. Yes, we are working smarter. So I don’t know what to think.

    Of course, my own son thinks cleaning his room is somehow beneath him, but don’t get me started on that. :)

  11. Pingback: Illegal Immigration and the Patriarchy « Tiny Cat Pants

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