The Trucker Shortage: Why Don’t We Let the Market Work?
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Suppose that truckers got $150,000 a year and worked something like regular 40-hour weeks, and weren’t forced to drive unsafe trucks in unsafe conditions? Does anyone think the industry would have a hard time finding enough people to work as truckers? (Actually, if truckers’ pay had kept pace with productivity growth over the last four decades it would be somewhere around $150k a year today.)
The point here is that the trucker shortage is overwhelmingly a problem of inadequate pay. This is what the market is telling us. But rather than listen to the market, we get a grand tour of other possible solutions. Why does the NYT have such a hard time listening to the market?
This seems like just another case of prejudice against workers who do not have college degrees. It’s true that higher pay for truckers would get passed on in the prices of a wide range of goods. But the $300,000 plus average pay of physicians gets passed on to us in the cost of our health care insurance. And the millions of dollars that private equity partners and hedge fund partners get paid to lose pension fund and university endowments money leads to higher prices for houses and other items, as they outbid normal workers. And government-granted patent monopolies cost us hundreds of billions in higher drug prices.
In these, and other areas, we have policies that make a relatively small number of people very wealthy, but that is not supposed to concern us. But the idea that we might have to pay truck drivers something like $150,000 a year, and therefore incur higher costs, is somehow intolerable.
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November 17, 2021 at 7:31 AM #455754
November 17, 2021 at 2:22 PM #455757closeupreadyParticipant
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That certainly is the subtext to the NYT story.
A firmly Democratic-supporting media outlet looking down on their gardeners, housekeepers, janitors, secretaries and truckers.
Yeah, keep voting Democratic – they aren’t as bad as the other guys!!!
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November 17, 2021 at 4:30 PM #455764
November 17, 2021 at 4:48 PM #455766soryangParticipant
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Except for the weekly hours which are grueling. It’s seventy hours not fifty, not forty a week. Technically it’s seventy hours duty time over an eight day period. Then you take a 34 hr break as I recall from the hours of service regs for OTR drivers. The problem is union busting and non union companies. The job sucks, no one with family and children can take this job as a practical matter. three weeks on the road and a weekend at home? what could go wrong with that?
November 17, 2021 at 6:21 PM #455778retired liberalParticipant
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Where’s the profit in that? It’s that simple. To let the market work as it is supposed to, the workers would have to be paid what the job is worth. Can’t be doing that, as it would cut into the upper management’s pay and company profits.
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November 17, 2021 at 7:31 PM #455791Populist ProleParticipant
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Good piece, though it it wasn’t exactly “news” in that it confirmed my previous suspicions: All this hoo-ha is thinly veiled class disdain.
Truth serum administered to these elitist a-holes would elicit a result like this:
“We need these people, but there’s no way in the world we should pay 150K a year to a #$%^&$@….truck driver!“. Bet on it.
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