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Fewer hands in the fields
La Times ^ | June 18th 2011 | Richard Fausset

Posted on 06/18/2011 7:18:07 PM PDT by Cardhu

Contractor Don Pedro — like farmers across Georgia — is worried that the state's tough new immigration law is scaring away an illegal immigrant workforce.

Reporting from Wray, Ga. — It was a Tuesday afternoon at the height of blackberry season, and the Paulk family farm was short 100 pickers. It was Don Pedro's job to find them.

The Georgia Department of Agriculture this month released a survey of farmers who said they needed to fill more than 11,000 positions lasting from one day to a year. Critics of U.S. farming practices have long said Americans would take such jobs if they paid better.

Don Pedro said his job has never been so tough, nor workers so scarce. His boss had told the state Labor Department he needed pickers, but he had received no responses. He wasn't surprised, even though the jobless rate in Irwin County was 13%. Few here believe that native Southerners, white or black, wish to return to the land their ancestors once sharecropped or tended in bondage.

Pedro Guerrero, 54, the smiling, soft-spoken man in black cowboy boots whom everyone calls Don Pedro, was barreling down two-lane roads in a compact Chevy on a hunt for his own people. He was searching amid the trailers and tumbledown rental houses and mercados that have sprung up since the 1990s, when waves of Latinos began arriving in Georgia to harvest food, serve it in restaurants and scrape it from soiled plates.

Don Pedro kept one hand on the wheel. The other sorted paper scraps stuffed in the pocket of his Western shirt. On a flip phone, he punched in numbers for guys named Felipe and Miguel and Sixto, surfing an analog network of cousins and friends of friends and old sources who might know where the hard workers

(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Georgia
KEYWORDS: aliens; california; migrant; workers
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Read it and weep - :)
1 posted on 06/18/2011 7:18:09 PM PDT by Cardhu
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To: Cardhu

Two things need to happen. The farmers need to pay a bit more and America’s lazy ass youth need to get out there.


2 posted on 06/18/2011 7:20:59 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Cardhu

It’s summertime. Hire high school kids. Hire from the ranks of the unemployed. Let them earn some money for once.


3 posted on 06/18/2011 7:21:16 PM PDT by Grunthor (Make the lefts' collective brain cell implode; Cain/Bolton 2012.)
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To: Cardhu

All welfare recipients near that place should get a medical exam for being able-bodied and if they are then should be put on workfare at that farm. The more typical story would be that they’d be mobbed with so many hopefuls they’d have to turn them away in droves.


4 posted on 06/18/2011 7:21:55 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: Grunthor

yes, tell them it is one of the best green jobs
they could do. tell them it is about
nutritional sustainability and working
with diverse peoples. give them college
credits and tell them it is part of americorps.
they will lose weight and learn a skill.
win-win.


5 posted on 06/18/2011 7:26:51 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: cripplecreek

Unfortunately the farmers have to compete with surrounding areas with less restrictive immigrant policies, as well as import product. They may even be losing green card holders who are choosing to migrate elsewhere to be with their non card holding illegale relatives. It might be a pitiful but economically more understandable choice to let the crop rot rather than harvest it and sell it at loss prices. In which case maybe it could be opened, with the help of good samaritan protection laws, to such agencies as Second Harvest.


6 posted on 06/18/2011 7:27:04 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

You are probably right...


7 posted on 06/18/2011 7:28:04 PM PDT by Cardhu
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To: Grunthor

When I was a teenager we had to compete for those jobs.


8 posted on 06/18/2011 7:28:31 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Cardhu

Get rid of welfare.


9 posted on 06/18/2011 7:28:41 PM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage http://www.appleseedinfo.org)
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To: Cardhu

100,000’s of the “original field workers” sitting idle in GA. Why can’t they be hired? —— Oh, I forgot that work would be beneath their dignity.


10 posted on 06/18/2011 7:32:37 PM PDT by TaMoDee (GO PACK GO to Super Bowl XLVI)
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To: gussiefinknottle
"tell them it is part of americorps"

Americrops.


11 posted on 06/18/2011 7:35:00 PM PDT by I see my hands (Embrace misanthropy)
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To: Cardhu

For crying out loud, these people are hurting. Get them some mexicans before they starve to death.


12 posted on 06/18/2011 7:37:43 PM PDT by winodog
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To: cripplecreek

Why don’t you pay a bit more and get yore lazy old butt out there?


13 posted on 06/18/2011 7:37:54 PM PDT by ngat
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To: TaMoDee

A few years back I was in town and stopped at a light. I looked over to see a white kid about 14 years old and 300lbs inhaling and ice cream cone.

In the yard was a middle aged hispanic man pushing a lawn mower around.


14 posted on 06/18/2011 7:39:42 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Cardhu

If they can’t get by without illegals to do the work then they have to modify their business plan. Pay a decent wage and people will work, simple enough.


15 posted on 06/18/2011 7:40:36 PM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: Cardhu
It was a Tuesday afternoon at the height of blackberry season, and the Paulk family farm was short 100 pickers.

Might make a difference the type of blackberry they were picking!

or

16 posted on 06/18/2011 7:40:58 PM PDT by Brandonmark (2012: OUR HOPE IS CHANGE!)
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To: Cardhu

A sudden cut in the food stamp program might encourage some people to get out there and pick some berries, or whatever. Pay a little more, and stop counting on taxpayers to subsidize the help. I don’t know how it is in Georgia, but come black berry season in Washington, there is no shortage of people picking them and making pies. Maybe pay indigenous pickers in money and some of the goods. There has to be a way to do it without horribly expensive, subsidized Democrats flooding into the country. Get out of the rut.


17 posted on 06/18/2011 7:41:53 PM PDT by pallis
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To: Cardhu

The prisons are full of people who can pick berries. People that have nothing else to do and could defray some of the cost of their imprisonment.


18 posted on 06/18/2011 7:42:21 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: winodog
For crying out loud, these people are hurting. Get them some mexicans before they starve to death.

Maybe we can get Sally Struthers to do a telethon. LOL
19 posted on 06/18/2011 7:43:20 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: TaMoDee

Some estimates are that there may be as many as 20 million illegal aliens in America.

There are at least 15 million unemployed people in America.

Doesn’t it appear that we are importing a servile class to do certain jobs? And why are we as a society doing this?

Why do we have to listen to lectures about urban youth unemployment, and hear that there are “no jobs” and all that, when there are jobs out there?

Yes I know farm work and manual labor is hard work. Yes I know some people don’t want to do that sort of work. But for otherwise unemployable young people, for example, this sort of work could give them a stepping stone to the workforce, and better things in their future.

Anecdotal evidence is that places such as fast food, which used to hire lots of teenager and young adults, now hire people who were not born in this country. Why is that?

Why are so many jobs such as office cleaning now done by people who were not born in this country? There too, these are jobs that those with no skills could go to work everyday, do a necessary job, earn a paycheck, and set themselves up for better things for the future. But instead, certain jobs are dominated by those not born in this country. Why is this?

Years ago, many black women worked as domestics. Now relatively few do. That’s hard work, and not well paying, but here too, people not born in this country seem to dominate this category too.

The article is about farm work, and how illegals and/or those born elsewhere dominate that field, but the same concept applies to many other areas.

And to me, the frustration is that many of these jobs done by foreign born, legally here or otherwise, is that even unskilled poorly educated Americans could do such work.

I don’t know what changed with work ethics of people, or if certain employers prefer foreign born, but, there is a connection between the number of chronically unemployed people and the numbers of foreign born workers in this country.


20 posted on 06/18/2011 7:44:37 PM PDT by Dilbert San Diego
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To: cripplecreek
Nope. We have multiple generations of welfare recipients now. Why work when you can get everything for free? That's what mom did, and that's what her mom did, and that's probably what her mom did as well. I teach with people who have been in the system for 35 years and are now teaching grandchildren of former students. Do the math on that. To solve this field hand problem we need to delete Welfare, SSI for those who have never contributed a penny, WIC, and Medicare and Medicaid for those who have never contributed a penny. Of course, I am a total racist for insisting that these people go work in a field, donchaknow.
21 posted on 06/18/2011 7:44:43 PM PDT by goodwithagun (My gun has killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy's car.)
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To: Cardhu
Pedro Guerrero, 54, the smiling, soft-spoken man in black cowboy boots whom everyone calls Don Pedro, was barreling down two-lane roads in a compact Chevy on a hunt for his own people.

These LAT MSM have honed this Don Pedro 'narrative' to absolute perfection. There is a Pulitzer in the offing here. I thought real liberals hated scape-goats and slave labor.!!

22 posted on 06/18/2011 7:46:09 PM PDT by Calusa (The pump don't work cause the vandals took the handles. Quoth Bob Dylan.)
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To: count-your-change

That’s what I was thinking. Work-release programs for non-violent offenders with an opportunity to learn farming.

Next, get the American family farm back, and stop the conglomerates feeding off of the cheap illegal labor.


23 posted on 06/18/2011 7:47:28 PM PDT by Salvavida (The restoration of the U.S.A. starts with filling the pews at every Bible-believing church.)
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To: cripplecreek
Two things need to happen. The farmers need to pay a bit more and America’s lazy ass youth need to get out there.

No - one thing needs to happen and happen now! Stop the gravy train. Cut welfare, subsidized housing, section 8, WIC, food stamps, free telephones and free cars.

If the recipients can't get out and go to work then let them lose some weight.

24 posted on 06/18/2011 7:47:54 PM PDT by ladyjane
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To: cripplecreek

The white kid had a job. —— Official ice cream taster for Blue Bunny Ice Cream. The Hispanic guy was doing what any hard working guy should be doing on his weekend off —— cutting his grass on Saturday morning.


25 posted on 06/18/2011 7:48:28 PM PDT by TaMoDee (GO PACK GO to Super Bowl XLVI)
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To: cripplecreek

Exactly. Both my grandmothers would work on tobacco farms in Connecticut. Supply and demand.

Today I pick blackberry’s in the SC sun for free. Of course, I then eat them for free. That’s also supply and demand.


26 posted on 06/18/2011 7:51:20 PM PDT by MontaniSemperLiberi (Moutaineers are Always Free)
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To: Cardhu

I started with maters and graduated to 2 pennies a bale. What is their bitch again........


27 posted on 06/18/2011 7:51:24 PM PDT by eyedigress ((Old storm chaser from the west)?)
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To: Cardhu
The large boxes hold 96 ounces of berries, and the fastest pickers fill five boxes an hour, earning $22.50 an hour before taxes.

I don't know, that seems like a decent "living wage" to me ($900 for a 40 hour week).

28 posted on 06/18/2011 7:53:58 PM PDT by Brandonmark (2012: OUR HOPE IS CHANGE!)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

As I understand your comment here’s my solution:
1. Send illegals home.
2. Pay US citizens wages according to the skill required for the job. (Not all jobs demand a living wage for each worker. A married couple can make a very comfortable living with their wages combined. Done it for the first 5 years of marriage.)


29 posted on 06/18/2011 7:58:38 PM PDT by TaMoDee (GO PACK GO to Super Bowl XLVI)
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To: ngat; cripplecreek

Mechanical crop sorting - harvesting machines will be the answer. Regular preventative maintenance not free medical care, free education and scholarships to college, social security or open borders.


30 posted on 06/18/2011 8:00:49 PM PDT by B4Ranch (Allowing Islam into America is akin to injecting yourself with AIDS to prove how tolerant you are...)
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To: Cardhu
The Paulks have been talking about moving to less labor-intensive crops, or using a federal guest-worker program, a move they say will cut into their profits. For now, they need pickers.

We find that buried pretty far down in the article. There is a lot of garbage in this article. One major point is that no one with a lick of common sense has ever said that the seasonal, migrant work could always be done by US citizens. It does make sense to have a guest worker program for migrant, seasonal agricultural work.

But I've read many times that US farm employers avoid using the programs for various reasons. These programs should be improved and made less cumbersome, but they should also implement reasonable means of keeping track of guest workers to ensure that they leave after a period of time.

I'd bet that, like most aspects of immigration law, that there are mountains of BS erected by those who don't want to follow the law because it's easier just to hire a bunch of illegal aliens. The government should develop workable programs and costly punishments for those who refuse to use them.

31 posted on 06/18/2011 8:00:59 PM PDT by Will88
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To: B4Ranch

Necessity is the mother of invention.


32 posted on 06/18/2011 8:02:18 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: Will88
It does make sense to have a guest worker program for migrant, seasonal agricultural work.

We've had those since I was a kid nearly 50 years ago.
33 posted on 06/18/2011 8:03:39 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: count-your-change
The prisons are full of people who can pick berries. People that have nothing else to do and could defray some of the cost of their imprisonment.

At least one Georgia lawmaker was proposing that a couple of weeks ago. Haven't heard if it was taken seriously by others.

34 posted on 06/18/2011 8:04:45 PM PDT by Will88
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To: cripplecreek
We've had those since I was a kid nearly 50 years ago.

You took one sentence out of context and ignored many others. If there are real problems with those programs they should be improved. If employers are simple ignoring them because they're a hassle, and it's always been easier to just hire illegals, then those employers should be dealt with under the law.

But like everything in immigration enforcement, the guest worker programs have been ignored because those laws aren't enforced either. People just hire illegals and get away with it.

The government could change that, just as it could enforce the border and many other things related to illegal immigration it chooses to ignore.

35 posted on 06/18/2011 8:09:40 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Cardhu

A labor shortage will spur adoption of ATM machines to tend the fields and pick the crops.

Seriously, we are just a few years away from the first generation of farmerhand microbots that use DARPA-level swarming technology in hunter-killer missions against crop-destroying insects. This would be as major an advance in agriculture as the invention of the tractor or insecticides.

Rational economics (as opposed to Keynesian “economics”) will quickly tell us there is no such thing as a labor shortage. There is only a shortage of people willing to work for the wages being offered. There is a wage level that will bring enough workers into the field, but the farmer may not find it acceptable. He soon may find it costs less over time to buy a few hundred farmhand-microbots instead.


36 posted on 06/18/2011 8:10:27 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: cripplecreek

Two things need to happen. The farmers need to pay a bit more and America’s lazy ass youth need to get out there
Not the welfare folk that take it for granted that they can avail of all this wonderful food via food stamp programs . . . ?
37 posted on 06/18/2011 8:10:48 PM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: 1_Inch_Group; 2sheep; 2Trievers; 3AngelaD; 3pools; 3rdcanyon; 4Freedom; 4ourprogeny; 7.62 x 51mm; ..

Ping!


38 posted on 06/18/2011 8:21:32 PM PDT by HiJinx (Old Cold Warrior)
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To: Will88

I’m sure the prisons of Georgia could grow most of the food they eat or hire the inmates out so they could make restitution for the cost of their crimes or care for their families.

Think of what could be done in a place like Detroit that can’t afford to tear down its condemned houses. There’s lots of valuable material in those houses if the labor was cheap, like inmates, that is being left to rot like the berries going to rot for lack of workers.

But....I don’t see it happening any time soon.


39 posted on 06/18/2011 8:37:23 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Cardhu
Don Pedro, was barreling down two-lane roads in a compact Chevy on a hunt for his own people slaves.

There, fixed it.

40 posted on 06/18/2011 8:41:00 PM PDT by glorgau
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To: Cardhu

oooooh!!! JOBS FOR THE TEENAGERS!!!!


41 posted on 06/18/2011 8:42:21 PM PDT by bannie ("The gov't that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul." ))
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To: Grunthor

yes, tell them it is one of the best green jobs
they could do. tell them it is about
nutritional sustainability and working
with diverse peoples. give them college
credits and tell them it is part of americorps.
they will lose weight and learn a skill.
win-win.


42 posted on 06/18/2011 8:58:25 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: I see my hands

perfect! (arrgh, i don’t know why i just sent
my comment again. accident.)


43 posted on 06/18/2011 9:00:06 PM PDT by gussiefinknottle (woof!woof!woof!)
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To: cripplecreek

They need to do neither. One of the reasons why more automation has not penetrated farming like all other fields is precisely because of the cheap labor available.

While employing the youth would be optional, optimally farmers would go with more automation instead.


44 posted on 06/18/2011 9:13:36 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: cripplecreek
Let me address something for you. I am in the agriculture business. Here, in Washington State the minimum wage is 8.67 an hour. If we were to do another year with the H2A program, the adverse wage that we have to pay those workers is over 2 dollars an hour more.

Plus, we have to have the workers screened South of the border. We pay for that.

Then those workers have to be screened North of the border. We pay for that.

Then we have to provide transportation from the border to our location. We pay for that.

Then we have to provide housing for them. We pay for that.

Then we have to haul them to work and back again. We pay for that.

Then, if they get sick or injured, we pay for that.

We have to guarantee them a certain amount of hours of work, whether they do in fact work, or not. We pay for that.

But, the kicker is this. If they perceive they have a grievance, they call the USDA representative on their cell phone. Automatically, we are shut out of the process. The USDA rep. interviews them privately. The process takes years. The worker is already back in Mexico. WE have no recourse to the fines, lawyer fees to protect us, etc.

Finally, there is misconception that farm workers are underpaid. That is a common lie that is perpetrated by the ignorant to the uninformed. Very few work for minimum wage. Most positions, especially for those experienced, make significantly more. They have to be paid because they are responsible for operating equipment work ten of thousands of dollars.

Farming today is not 'Old MacDonald' walking behind a mule plowing a field. It is a highly specialized business.

Most of you see apples in the grocery store of your choice. It costs, before any money is made, $4,000 an acre to produce those apples. Do the math, multiply that by any number of acres you wish to see the amount of money required to farm in today's economy.

45 posted on 06/18/2011 9:18:34 PM PDT by Parmy
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To: cripplecreek

Don Pedro did not know anyone but Mexican illegals to work the farm. The farmer built his business on sand - illegal workers who no speaka english. Pedro is going to have to learn the culture and language of Americans and how to interact with them in a respectful way - they ain’t poor peasants from Mexico. In place with illegal labor is not available anymore, Pedro may not be an asset anymore.

Pedro is going to have to speak English and interact respectfully with network of Americans and legals. I know American high school boys who work summers on farms. They love it and make good money.


46 posted on 06/18/2011 9:22:02 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: glorgau

I wonder if there were similar articles about fewer hands in Georgia fields after the end of slavery.


47 posted on 06/18/2011 9:24:32 PM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Grunthor

Anybody who spent summers in corn and bean country during the 70’s and 80’s (and earlier) would have noticed the fields full of local kids off school making some money for next year. They worked hard for long hours and came out of the fields looking like lobsters in bluejeans. Of course that was back before agribusiness ate up the small farmer and cut margins to the point that lawful citizens, paid above board and on the books became an unjustifiable expense. You should see what the illegal Mexicans have done to those once-prosperous small Midwestern communities. It’s like watching cancer devour an old friend.


48 posted on 06/18/2011 9:40:10 PM PDT by Trod Upon (Obama: Making the Carter malaise look good. Misery Index in 3...2...1)
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To: cripplecreek

Ditch minimum wage and give kids credits towards college.


49 posted on 06/18/2011 9:43:50 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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To: Moonman62

Excellent!


50 posted on 06/18/2011 9:44:25 PM PDT by Gene Eric (*** Jesus ***)
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