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What's Wrong with Importing Agricultural Products?

Dean Baker is for it:

Beat the Press Archive | The American Prospect: What's Wrong With Growing Produce in Mexico? The Washington Post tells us that farmers in Texas are having trouble getting enough workers because of restrictions on immigration. It then reports one farmer's warning that if Mexicans can't come over the border to work on farms here, then the produce will just be produced in Mexico and shipped over the border.

This invites the obvious response "so what?" I dont' see a problem with importing produce from Mexico. I also think it's probably better in general for Mexicans to have the opportunity to work in their own country than have to come to the United States to get a decent job. I realize that the farmer in the story may be out of business, but the government does not exist to guarantee farmers access to cheap labor.

Dean's beef is that Washington Post staff writer Sylvia Moreno commits one of the standard incompetences of Washington Post staff reporters covering economic issues. There are at least six groups of stakeholders: U.S. growers, U.S. unskilled workers, Mexican growers, Mexican unskilled workers, legal migrants, illegal migrants, and U.S. consumers. Ms. Moreno talks about only one of these seven groups--U.S. producers--and so gets the story wrong.

I'm still looking for anybody to tell me a reason that the Washington Post should publish a print edition tomorrow. Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?

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