The Atlantic dissects Georgia’s anti-immigrant law

The VDT’s pan of HB 87 gets national notice. Why we don’t need a law that puts south Georgia farmers out of business while profiting private prison company CCA at taxpayer expense.

Megan McArdle wrote in the Atlantic 21 June 2011, Georgia’s Harsh Immigration Law Costs Millions in Unharvested Crops. She started by quoting Jay Bookman, who quoted the VDT. She then goes into the economics:

The economics here aren’t particularly complicated, and I’m sure they won’t be new to the sophisticated readers of the Atlantic, but they are useful to look at and consider explicitly when thinking about issues like this.

It goes like this. If you’re not going to let illegal immigrants do the jobs they are currently being hired to do, then farmers will have to raise wages to replace them. Since farmers are taking a risk in hiring immigrant workers, you can bet they were getting a significant deal on wage costs relative to “market wages”. I put market wages here in quotations, because it’s quite possible that the wages required to get workers to do the job are so high that it’s no longer profitable for farmers to plant the crops in the first place.

Yes, that would be the problem. A law that benefits private prison company CCA at the expense of Georgia taxpayers while putting Georgia farmers out of business.

She concludes:

All of this is to say if you’re going to stop illegal immigrants from doing a job you should be prepared for the job, and perhaps even the business itself, to go away. You may think this is worth it, but you should at least be acknowledging the risks and weigh them against what, if anything, you think is being gained.
We don’t need HB 87. And we don’t need a private prison in south Georgia, profiting CCA at the expense of Georgia farmers and taxpayers. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.