The trucking industry has a serious problem

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A lot of guys try to get out of trucking because it is a crummy life. They get out for lower pay but a better life. Our mechanic and oiler both used to drive and got out for a lower wage.


Low wages drove white boys out of agriculture, not the hard work. Stoop labor needs to pay by the bushel or pound. Everything else would get a lot of takers for just $12 an hour if any kind of housing was available. Most farms have some run down trailers for the illegal aliens.


Everyone wants market forces and price discovery except when paying for labor. Then, they want to cheat and rig the game with imported low wage workers. People will dream up the most preposterous solutions when the answer is so simple: if the pay is high enough, they will come.


A while back, there was talk of importing Mexican welders and truck drivers because of a shortage. Show the welders the money and trade schools will have waiting lists of wannabe welders. Many truckers drive 14 hours a day, for seven days and get 24 off. Wherever they wind up they go in the sleeper berth. Wake up and do it again. Some even bathe occasionally. If you had a wife, you won't keep her. Bad food, never feel good. No life. All for about the median income.


Me, I am local/regional but oilfield dependent. Chicken or feathers. Lately, feathers. Trucker shortage? Can't imagine why. Owner operator is quite a bit more money, which can make a horrible lifestyle a bit more pleasant. Most aspire to manage a few trucks and let some other slobs do the driving while they have a life.


There is a reason we have a bunch of imported darkies driving lots of trucks. Crummy job-low pay. If the money was good enough, you'd have a glut as with dentists, lawyers, and gender studies majors. You'd have hookers, porn stars, and politicians attending truck driver schools. Why is it that the modest pay, long hours, and unhealthy lifestyle don't occur to anyone? We must import foreigners? People can tolerate a lot if they are making decent money. A LOT of drivers are aging boomers. When we start kicking off, you will know a real trucker shortage. I will bolt for 75% of what I am making, probably. Maybe soon.


The trucking industry has a serious problem, that needs to be resolved, or you risk not getting get your shit, mister. You can try to solve it with Mexicans and Africans OR offer median income or better for regional/local driving with the hours down to between 50 and 60 a week. Hubs/terminals likely shared. Drop the trailer, let the next driver haul into his neck of the woods. Hook on his trailer, take it back to your neck of the woods.


The thing that really should surprise all of us, is how few trucking accidents there are, considering all the exhausted unhealthy drivers and the inexperienced, and often just plain stupid, foreign drivers. I won't even go into the millennials surfing the net, watching movies, chowing down, and texting while driving.


Dave Volek Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:16am
Nice article that summarizes the economics of this industry quite well. 
Trucking is a hard way to make a middle class income. I admire truckers and heavy equipment operators for their skill set. If average citizens were placed in these positions, there would be a lot more wrecks.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:21am
Thanks, Dave. 
I am likely to be a poor correspondent because of my occupation, but will keep an eye out for comments when I am parked at the silo or on location.
Dave Volek Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:27am
I listened to a CBC radio documentary about a shortage of pilots.
In the past, this profession was attractive to those who just loved to fly. They found ways to pay for their own schooling. When they got their license, the only employers were the regional carriers with planes not much bigger than the training planes. With few opportunities and their love of flying, they accepted rather low wages.
The idea was that in 10 years, they would have the experience to move into the bigger planes. Wages become very respectable.
But today's wannabe pilots take a look at the lifestyle of novice pilots and are saying "no" to this profession. They can't wait 10 years. I can't say I blame them. 
Dave Volek Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:50am
I knew a few people who had decided to become pilots. They loved flying and were willing to pay the price to be allowed to do lots of flying.
This occupation had appealed to me, but not enough. I always thought if I had become a pilot, I would stay with the smaller planes as they would be easier for me "to connect with them". When one is in harmony with a machine, it is a great feeling. I can't imagine the same feeling with the 737.
opher goodwin Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:53am
Just wait until driverless trucks come in. That'll cause a major upheaval. It's not far off now. They are trying them out.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:56am
I had no idea about the pilot shortage and lack of paid training. Both of your comments have educated me.
Some states now have the genius plan to send welfare mamas to truck driving school. I guess grandma will be raising the grand kids. Seems to be a short sighted solution with great costs to society. Trade school for welding would seem superior.
 Signing off until I get a break...
Dave Volek Added Feb 18, 2018 - 11:32am
I have a friend who went into long-haul trucking. He's on the road about 20-25 days a month. He has a young family to nurture. While internet technology enables better communications, it is still not the same.
There are so many occupations that require one or more parents to be away from home too long.
Stephen Hunter Added Feb 18, 2018 - 11:45am
Good insights into 'truckers' Pardero! This resonates with me, as I grew up in a small rural area in New Brunswick Canada. Originally people were employed in small potato farms. As the industry evolved, less people needed for manual labor,  so many started to become truckers, including close family members who still drive today. 
However looks to me like it is a dying industry where within a couple of decades, many transports will be self driven. 
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 18, 2018 - 11:46am
@Pardero. "There is a reason we have a bunch of imported darkies driving lots of trucks. Crummy job-low pay. If the money was good enough, you'd have a glut as with dentists, lawyers, and gender studies majors."
The use of darkies would situate you in London, but you mention Mexicans and Blacks, situating you in the US. The way I see the immigrant worker thing is that illegals come in and clean old people's behind, something Americans will not normally do for their own parents. After 20 years of cleaning behind, those illegals get married perhaps paying $20,000, and become legal and stop cleaning asses. They are so thrifty they had save enough to buy a house. They buy a house and get rental income. The man they marry can now contribute to help pay the mortgage. Those former illegals cannot get pension or SS, so they may open a business. Who wish to clean asses or drive a truck for 30 years? succession of illegals perhaps. That is why we need illegals.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 12:19pm
     I have a couple minutes because of some hole trouble on this frac...
     I regret the use of a term that could be considered disrespectful or an epithet. I used the term for an old-fashioned feel and for the visceral punch. I meant no disrespect.
     "Only the jobs Americans won't do." I wish I had the time to address that properly. One of the biggest lies ever told-ridiculous false conventional wisdom. 
     I barely have time for an anecdote. A meat packing plant in a plains state had a workforce of almost entirely illegal aliens. When they got busted, they cried that the locals wouldn't do the work. Then, they imported a workforce of Africans on work permits. The Africans rioted and walked out, due to the work conditions and housing.
     The company had no alternative except to hire locals. The locals are working there to this day and the company is turning a profit. 
     I made about $20 an hour, in todays dollars, in high school. I made about $30 an hour, in todays dollars, as a carpenter. Why on earth would an American do that for today's 12 bucks an hour, because of illegals depressing wages? An American can make far more than that getting handouts or living on student loans and grants. You are lucky to subsist on that, let alone put together a bankroll for the inevitable time between jobs and the slow winter months.
 Your falsehood that "we must have illegal labor in this country" is absolute pure bunk. I would go framing, even after 3 surgeries on my left arm, if the money was right. The shortage of ag workers is because most illegals go straight to construction or oilfield roustabouts. My ass! they are all wiping people's backsides. You need to get out of that ivory tower and look around more. 
George N Romey Added Feb 18, 2018 - 12:23pm
Trucking like many occupations has gone from middle class to working poor. Yet we have full employment!
Pilots? You pay $100K for training and needed flight hours. Afterwards you fly crop dusters until a regional hires you as a FO for less than $15K a year. Maybe 5 years down the road you get hired by the majors as a narrowbody FO at $70K a year. Nice process if you happen to be a trust fund baby.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Feb 18, 2018 - 12:34pm
"I have a couple minutes because of some hole trouble on this frac...
     I regret the use of a term that could be considered disrespectful or an epithet. I used the term for an old-fashioned feel and for the visceral punch. I meant no disrespect."
If you are addressing me, re above, there is no need for apology.  For me, this is a site where I can communicate with people from across the globe and learn of their foies, foibles, slang, mannerism, and such. The reason I reference darkies is because my Black British friend used it a lot when he described how the British Whites referred to them. 
Would they give an illegal immigrant license to drive trucks in America? Not in an Ivory tower, I am a rebel and activist.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 12:39pm
I am on standby until this problem frac starts calling for sand. No, I am not getting paid any standby, either. So don't wonder why all the trucking companies around here all have massive help wanted banners displayed.
     Thanks for that, George. Reminds me of back when I had a CDL A, Water Distribution Manager, WTPO-IT, Intermediate first aid, and Certified pest control operator. I took a $12 an hour job for experience, until I could get on with a bigger town and earn a living wage. I had hoped that I could survive on some savings and selling some small assets. I went bankrupt after 6 months and took an oilfield job. Never looked back. I think the only guys that can take a low paying job to gain experience, are those with wives that can support them.
     Yay! I just got dispatched! 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 18, 2018 - 3:18pm
Nice article Pardero. I was in  trucking for some time, not as a driver. The companies keep complaining about not having drivers, but they don't want to pay anything for risking your life every day. It's really sad, and yes, I heard about them wanting to bring in Mexican drivers, because they won't demand more money. Meanwhile, trucking company owners make millions. Sad state indeed. Glad you pointed it out.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 4:17pm
Thanks a lot. Only 5k of 20/40 white left on trailer. Hope I get a second load. 
Jeff Jackson Added Feb 18, 2018 - 5:25pm
Best of luck-Sunday nights were all about clearing all the full trailers sitting on the yards for customers who wanted delivery of their freight on Monday morning. I was given free rein to get any load I could off the yard and delivered Monday.
A. Jones Added Feb 18, 2018 - 8:28pm
If the money was good enough, you'd have a glut as with dentists, lawyers
A successful dentist or a senior partner in a corporate law firm easily nets over a million dollars a year.
They would give that up — plus the status of being a practicing member of one of the "professions" — to drive a truck?
I don't think so. But dream on.
Pardero Added Feb 18, 2018 - 8:44pm
Your reading comprehension has failed you. I mentioned some glutted professions that still command top compensation. I never intended to imply that they would move to trucking. If trucking is so distasteful, in your opinion, you help make my case that it is undercompensated. Your disdain for truckers is noted. Sorry if I hurt your feelings.
A. Jones Added Feb 18, 2018 - 9:15pm
I mentioned some glutted professions that still command top compensation.
What makes you say they're glutted? Lawyers, perhaps, but I haven't heard that the current supply of dentists is outstripping the demand for their services.
If trucking is so distasteful, in your opinion, you help make my case that it is undercompensated.
It's not undercompensated. It's just no longer necessary. And we shouldn't legislating wage hikes for jobs that are no longer necessary.
A. Jones Added Feb 18, 2018 - 9:19pm
Your disdain for truckers is noted.
I have no disdain for gear-jammers. I just have no special respect for them, either.
Pretty much my attitude toward lawyers and dentists, as well.
Autumn Cote Added Feb 18, 2018 - 10:12pm
Please add a photo/avatar to your account.  If you don't know how to do it, I'll be happy to help.  As always, many thanks for your participation with Writer Beat!
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 2:03am
A. Jones, Opher, et al
Thanks for the replies. 
For being "unnecessary", there are a lot of trucks on the road. We get loaded out of railcars so don't be thinking it will go that way, either.     
     My oilfield trucking job is safe for at least a generation. Long haulers could be replaced with self-drivers but you still need a chump in that cab. Lots of accidents, so far, in testing. The reality is quite different from the hype. A lot of variables. Seems to me that it would be easier to build a self-flying drone, but drones have operators. A few dozen fatality accidents and the self-driving truck boondoggle will be shelved for a few decades. 
     Almost forgot! I never mentioned anything about "legislation". I like to choose my own words, thank you. I may be anticipating possible legislation to lower requirements and/or import foreign drivers. I oppose any such legislation. Let fair American market forces determine American trucker compensation. It'll all work out. It has to or you don't get your stuff. If it costs more to hire a trucker than it does to hire some parasitic keyboard jockey, so be it. An illegal roustabout makes more than a barista with a master's degree, too.
     How does the saying go? You can go without air for 4 min. Without water for 4 days, etc. If your local grocer ran out of food, you won't be looking for the corporate lawyer to pull into town. I would think that you would be looking for a reefer, driverless or otherwise.
Air is pretty much free. Water is cheap in many places. Food is by far the most expensive, though the least essential.
     Those trucks stop rolling, in 7 days you are robbing or getting robbed. I read about a Bosnian girl, during that conflict, who traded her virtue for a can of food. In 7 days, you will be grateful to trade your virtue for a can of Pork and Beans. 
     If those "unnecessary" trucks ever stop rolling, you would be looking at societal collapse, except for some rural areas. Just about everything you use was on a truck, except for your recreational drugs. That is another one of those jobs that most Americans won't do. Foreigners pick up much of that slack, too.
A. Jones Added Feb 19, 2018 - 4:39am
If those "unnecessary" trucks ever stop rolling, you would be looking at societal collapse
Why would they stop rolling? You mean, some sort of general strike?
No problem. You said let "fair American market forces determine American trucker compensation", right? I agree. Let the truck drivers exercise their market forces by threatening to stop trucking and let the owners of the trucks exercise their own market forces by hiring less expensive labor such as Jose and Manuel from Mexico. They're more than willing to drive the same produce to American supermarkets for far less than John and Bob from Kokomo. 
See? No "societal collapse" need occur Problem solved by fair American market forces determining trucker compensation.
Leroy Added Feb 19, 2018 - 7:46am
Thanks, Pardero, for the insight into the trucking industry and especially for the interesting commentary.  I don't have much to add other than I know a husband and wife who sold their restaurant and bought a truck.  They wanted to see the USA.  I guess the romance wore off after a few years and they sold the truck.  It might be fun for a while, but it is a tough life to do it every day, IMHO.  
George N Romey Added Feb 19, 2018 - 10:39am
Self driving trucks are decades away despite the hoopla. Ignore Jones. He’s a moron that think he’s better than those “blue collar trailer park trash.” He’s clueless that the industry now often pays by mile and demands unrealistic delivery times. Everything is lower and lower bid and no doubt safety is being compromised.
George N Romey Added Feb 19, 2018 - 11:36am
Others might know better but the drivers working for smaller firms or subcontractors usually aren’t union. The genesis of this problem goes to companies that low bid but expect unreasonable delivery times. Someone has to suffer the consequences.
Leroy Added Feb 19, 2018 - 11:46am
I know a guy who has his own trucking company.  I don't know if he owns the trucks or just schedules them.  I don't know how it works.  I imagine he makes good money without ever having to drive.  I also imagine he is one of the bottom feeders bidding low and overpromising.  I can also imagine that there are hundreds if not thousands just like him.  I haven't kept up with him.  The last I heard was that he was desperately trying to become a politician where the money is better and the talk is cheap.
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 11:53am
Thanks to Bill, CRM114, George, Leroy, et al.
I keep getting error messages and have lost some of my best thoughts.
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 12:01pm
It is working again. 
I was in a union once, not Teamsters, as a comm. bus driver. It paid by the route. The equivalent of 14 an hour. We may have been better served by the Teamsters. Many of the drivers were retired or former school bus drivers. I had to move on. I get paid by percentage of load, now. I like my present employer but may be tempted by higher paying commodities with more reasonable hours.
Even A Broken Clock Added Feb 19, 2018 - 3:22pm
Pardero - good article and subsequent discussion. Are you in N. Dakota? Or elsewhere in the nation? We went by train through Williston a couple of years ago and just the number of rigs was impressive.
We are in trouble as regards wages enabling a worker to earn a livable wage ever since the economy truly globalized. The loss of local manufacturing jobs led to other effects, such as having those who can't work in manufacturing trying any other type of job to earn a living wage. That depresses the wages for jobs like trucking that can help someone earn a living wage. And yet the stock market had a hissy fit when it was reported that average wages had increased by the lordly amount of 2.9% year over year.
At some point, the inflation monster has to reemerge, and of course that causes a whole new class of losers to emerge.
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 4:25pm
I am losing so many comments and then throw something together in haste. I need to update my software probably.
I try to be neutral on unions. My mother was an NEA teacher until she became disgruntled with them. My father was a fanatical pro-union tradesman all his life.
Good piece of mind, in theory, yes. I am sorry to report that they do not do as much as they should. I have seen them poison a working environment with their adversarial relationship with management. I am disillusioned with the cronyism and favoritism. I reject their seniority systems and believe they should have a merit based system with modest perqs for seniority. I have watched them slash benefits and wages for recent hires instead of fighting. They have sold their local and the occupation down the river for their personal greed. The job goes from a living wage trade to a subsistence job with no future. They give away new hire's health insurance for a paid birthday and hunting day. 
 The union should be the first to admonish a substandard employee. Instead, they defend them at the expense of good workers. With my own money and time, I got numerous certificates and competencies, but the UNION worded contract required an incompetent, but senior member to get the job. The person's sole interest was the 2 buck an hour raise. 
IBEW is good. Carpenters/Millwrights are good. 
Teamsters pretty good. 
Most have lost their way. They are killing businesses or else the taxpayer.
They promote mediocrity instead of excellence. I still have some hope that unions can get back to their roots. Back to how my father described them.
Autumn Cote Added Feb 19, 2018 - 5:59pm
I responded to your email.  Please send me the link to the author image you'd like me to use for you or send it to me as an attachment.  
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 8:51pm
Thank you. I was intimidated by the great minds and highly articulate people here and appreciate that my simple rant has been well received.
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 9:18pm
Even A Broken Clock,
Thank you. Wyoming actually. ND probably has far fewer rigs, now, but fracking is going gangbusters. Fair around here, but obviously, I am typing on my phone instead of hauling frac sand, at the moment.
I keep losing long replies to you. I will keep this one short and catch up with you later. 
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 9:31pm
Even A Broken Clock,
I intend to do some reading on something I heard about. Germany has the least wage disparity between owners and workers. I wonder if that is a factor in their economic success and if it was achieved without onerous government meddling. 
I am keen on knowing if it is cultural/altruistic or something else and if it could or should be emulated. My company is pretty generous, especially in a notoriously cut throat industry, but I have worked for some real vultures, before. 
A. Jones Added Feb 19, 2018 - 9:41pm
I try to be neutral on unions. My mother was an NEA teacher until she became disgruntled with them. My father was a fanatical pro-union tradesman all his life.  I am sorry to report that they do not do as much as they should.
Suppose, just hypothetically, that the craft unions did as much as they should (whatever "should" means to you). Suppose they were good, and kind, and caring, and fair, and just, and noble, and functioned ideally on behalf of their members. I'm just saying, "SUPPOSE", OK? From the standpoint of the union members, it's all good, and it's all coming up roses.
Here's the question:
Do you see any downside at all — anything, even if small and difficult to detect — to the rest of the workforce, i.e., not management, but other workers who are not in the union and who might be offering their labor services in some completely different sector from the one that a particular craft union has become established?
In other words, can you think of any UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of collective bargaining with craft unions that might negatively affect some other group of workers who are not members of any union at all, and who labor in some distant, unrelated sector of the economy?
Or is a hypothetically ideal union "all good", resulting in nothing but good things for everyone in the workforce?
Pardero Added Feb 19, 2018 - 10:29pm
A. Jones,
That is a thoughtful and thought provoking question. I probably am ill-equipped to give it its due, but I offer some observations.
A powerful union has bargained for free flu shots paid by a large union employer. They are available at many local places. What they have achieved, is to raise the price for the working poor. I was flabbergasted at the price quoted to me.
I have seen unions flip elections in precincts, cities, and counties.
I have seen unions work to pass regulations that make non-union companies less competitive. 
I have also seen higher wages even in entirely different occupations because of a strong union presence in an area. 
It could be that the % of union labor has become so insignificant that little else has occured to me.
I still believe that unions could play a beneficial role, especially in training, and may even be desperately needed in a dystopian future. Their raison d'etre has been mostly taken over by government agencies. I am opposed to any public unions.
A. Jones Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:04am
I have in mind unintended consequences that are more structural in nature; i.e., consequences that result just from the mere presence of a union, even if its leadership and its members are completely honest and good people.
A "wage" is simply a fancy name for another kind of price: the price of labor. I doubt you'll find an economist anywhere who disputes that definition: a wage is the price of labor.
Like any other good or service in a market, the "clearing price" — the price at which the good or service is actually "put into play" in the economy by transferring over to some other party by mutual agreement (such as a "purchase" or an "employment contract"), the price of labor is ultimately determined by the overall supply of labor offering its services on the market, and the overall demand for labor willing to pay for it: supply and demand. Everything being equal, the more intense the demand for labor, the higher the price the buyer (employer) is willing to pay for it; the less intense the demand, the lower the price the buyer (employer) is willing to pay for it. Nothing surprising here. It's standard supply-and-demand analysis.
As far as the money-wage is concerned, there are only two ways to make it higher: intensify the demand for it or shrink the supply of it. Either one will have the effect of raising the money-wage.
Unions don't have much influence on the demand for labor; they have no real means of intensifying it. But they do have influence over the supply of labor: they can (and do) reduce the supply of labor in their field of interest as ways of keeping the money-wage of their members high. They do this through influencing government to enact legislation that artificially creates "bottlenecks" to the free flow of new workers into a field; for example, i) licensing requirements (imposes a cost in money and time on a newbie trying to enter a particular field); ii) mandatory apprenticeships (imposing a time-cost on a newbie); etc. The economic purpose of these bottlenecks is to restrict the supply of labor in a particular field in order to keep wages higher than they would be if labor were allowed to enter that sector freely.
What happens to the workers who do not want to suffer the time-cost or the money-cost of a mandatory license requirement or apprenticeship program in order to become a member of high-paying union? Usually, they enter some other field — often non-union — which entails the kind of work that pays less, AND which requires that they do not utilize their full skill-set. In other words:  they find the next-best alternative that is non-union, requires lower skills than they already posses, and pays a lower wage.
There's a major problem with the above that goes beyond the obvious fact that the worker has to accept less than he might have received had been able to get into the other field's union: the problem is that he's a skilled worker now having to work at something below his training and skill-set, so the entire economy loses the higher value they could have had. His having to take the next-best alternative is a loss in value and in productivity to the entire economy, not just to him personally.
At the lowest end of the skill-set spectrum — those who are defined as being "unskilled" — are potential employees forbidden by minimum wage laws from entering the workforce at all because the law says they cannot accept a wage below some politically-determined minimum. They have no "next-best alternative". If they're dishonest but ambitious, they end up in a gang; if they're honest and apathetic, they end up on the "social safety net", some sort of welfare or government dole program. 
They join the ranks of the "long-term unemployed" because they were squeezed from two places: from the bottom, they were directly squeezed by the minimum wage (their lack of skills and experience made them unattractive to employers except, perhaps, at a very low wage — a wage employers were forbidden by law to offer, and a wage potential employees were forbidden by law to accept even if they wanted to); from the top, they were squeezed indirectly by higher-than-market-wage union members with far more developed and specialized skill-sets whose government-sanctioned policies artificially created that original "bottleneck" in labor at the top of the chain. That bottleneck rippled downward, distorting the usual entry and hiring practices in the progressively lower levels of skill-sets, until we get to the very bottom, with unskilled labor unable to enter even the lowest ranks of the workforce.
This is a structural problem with the very existence of unions, regardless of whether their leadership is influenced by the Mob, just plain corrupt, or completely honest.
A. Jones Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:05am
(continued from above)
This is a structural problem with the very existence of unions, regardless of whether their leadership is influenced by the Mob, just plain corrupt, or completely honest.
As for corruption, you overlooked the possibility that a craft union and management might intentionally collude for the sake of raising prices of its product or service to the general public and then split the proceeds. John L. Lewis (leader of the United Mine Workers in the 1930s) colluded with coal-mining companies to "threaten" a general strike . . . just when winter was approaching. Management pretended to cave to the union's demand for higher wages, resulting in higher prices for coal, which customers had no choice but to pay. 
Outright corruption aside, unions have had historically an overall negative effect on wage rates when considered economy-wide. They help their own members only to the extent they can shrink the overall supply of labor in a particular field. That politically-engineered bottleneck results in distortions in the different kinds of workforces associated with all of the field below the one controlled by the union in question. Finally, at the very bottom of the workforce are those with low skills, or even no skills, who need to get into the workforce to acquire skills and experience, but cannot do so, mainly because of another politically-engineered bottleneck called "the minimum wage."
If you want to help workers throughout the entire economy, and not just in one particular sector, abolish the bottlenecks.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 2:21am
Impressive piece, A. Jones. 
That is easily a stand alone article. I had not considered some of those aspects. I am considering unions differently. 
I am all for those market forces setting wages. What is unacceptable to me, is companies gaming the system by hiring workers from low paying third world countries. It must be a closed system for Americans only. 
There are unscrupulous selfish bastards out there that would happily pay starvation wages as their employees suffered in squalor. I support the harshest and most draconian penalties for those wannabe robber barons who use illegal and/or foreign labor because they are too greedy to pay enough to attract Americans. If they can't make a go of it with American labor, they need to be stripped of all assets and sent to busting rocks for a few decades.
When I was younger, I knew a lot of people that went into computer programming and IT. It was the future. Lots of jobs. Those jobs are going to East Indians on work visas. My nephew worked his ass off to become an environmental engineer. The wages are depressed, if you can find a job, because of all the South American and East Indian engineers. He found a position he likes, although the pay is modest. That is absolute bullshit! It MUST end. 
I don't know any drug dealers, but if I did, I would have more respect for them than I do for sleazy greedy carpetbagging degenerates that game the system by hiring low wage third worlders instead of their own countrymen. They are hurting America far worse than any garden variety sneak thief ever could. They are immoral, they have no integrity, they are hurting good people, they are causing harm to society and the country. They expect top dollar for their time and investment but would gladly pay a pittance for labor and leave a Dickensian London in their foul wake. There is my rant for the night.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 5:21am
I've been listening to a lot of people on youtube teaching what they know about law. We are undereducated. The average voter isn't intellectually capable of voting in his or her own interest. So its just a playground for the nihilistic politicians and attorneys. The only way we can beat this is to start getting a lot smarter.
  That also happens to be the only path for everlasting happiness according to Aristotle, every other form of happiness has span in time. You get accustomed to driving a nice car or having a beautiful woman or living in a big house or walking around a mall knowing you can just have whatever you want. It happens fast, as most of us know.
  If we are real capitalists in the true sense, we recognize a shortcoming and try to make up for it because that is where the money and rewards are. How will they come ? I don't know. There are some very successful youtubers out there. I'm to busy telling truth to make money at it, don't know if I could make money at it by just towing the line of conventional wisdom, I doubt it. I cannot monetize my channel and tell truth because then I could get arrested.
  A guy on youtube was talking about language. His father used to tell him "Latin is the math of English". He says we cannot properly understand English because we don't have the math. This is the problem in law - understanding what the words actually mean. What is a birth certificate? I'm still not sure. Nothing adds up completely when I hear the explanations. Part of it with me even is cognitive dissonance. I have a hard time coming to terms with the evil and deception.
  There is no way of becoming a threat to the PTB other than getting smarter. If voters were smarter we would not be in this mess. Our jobs would not be taken by immigrants who want to come here, destroy our country and kill us - we would be too smart for that. But for now we keep drinking fluoridated water and buy boxed food sweetened with aspertame (called natural flavor now)
  There is only one way out and its not easy, cheap or a short term effort.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:53am
Thanks, Doug. That thoughtful reply took some effort.
I agree that people aren't educating themselves. I am guilty.
Some Frenchman once said something like, "It is hard to think of the higher things when one must seek to earn a living."
I try to keep up. Other times, I keep my head down and plod along trying to survive.
I try to avoid the artificial additives. A healthy mind needs a healthy body.
I once had a casual interest in Latin and comparitive linguistics. I wish I had learned more. I can be pretty lazy intellectually, too.
My vote seems so insignificant when millions will vote based on a D or a R by the candidates name.
I have to get some rest, now. I will catch up with you later.
Leroy Added Feb 20, 2018 - 9:13am
"Thank you. I was intimidated by the great minds and highly articulate people here and appreciate that my simple rant has been well received."
You are as articulate as anyone here and have a non-confrontational, disarming charm about you.  You are a welcome addition.  Hope you stick around.
Dave Volek Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:24am
They expect top dollar for their time and investment but would gladly pay a pittance for labor and leave a Dickensian London in their foul wake.
Well said. I have got to know a few rich people, and that is exactly how many of them think. One rich person couldn't understand why plumbers charged $90.00 an hour. They didn't see the education required and proof of competence as an investment on part of the plumber. They didn't see the $40,000 van parked outside with $20,000 of tools and $20,000 of parts so the plumber could fix the problem with one call. They didn't see the secretary that took the call and prepared the work order. And the building for the secretary to take calls and provide a home base for the plumber.
And they don't understand that too many destitute people is not a good society for the wealthy to create and enjoy wealth.
George N Romey Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:32am
Dave I think much of this is based upon nonsense that people in "blue collar" jobs are all uneducated twits. Some of the smartest people I've met over my 58 years had jobs working with their hands and minds.  Yes that plumber has overhead that the customer does not see.
Dave Volek Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:38am
That customer had enough education to understand that setting oneself up as a plumber has its costs which eventually must be recovered.
That customer was using a red herring to disguise that he was just a tightwad. This is a big part of why some rich people have become rich.
Padero makes the point that this same customer would demand top dollar for whatever good or services he provides for the world.
We are such a sick society.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:47am
re Plumbers.
People also think of the trades as being easy, and you don't have to solve systems of DE's to be a plumber, but if you go to a house and things aren't working right and you cannot see behind the wall, you have some thinking to do. Some of the problems tradespeople run into are complex and they cannot have a sheet of paper and a pencil to work them out while standing in the rain.
Their new assistant needs training too, you ask for a pipe wrench, the next question is "what is a pipe wrench?". Its like that all day long, its why tradespeople often become abusive toward their help. Then there is the weather - do it all while its snowing, outside, -20 deg Celcius, with a new helper that day who didn't dress warm enough.
  Then there is the asshole customer who thinks that he is an attorney, smarter than you and will short you $50.00 because he knows you can't afford the ride in court to get your money back and you have no time for a tradesman's lien.
  My experience tells my that my professors in school aren't really any smarter than anyone else and that the smartest people I have met have had jobs like trades or menial work.
  These elitists are just plain nuts, made that way by propaganda, group think and going along to get along. Talking with some can make you sick or repulsed in an absolute sense.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:49am
Making the "elites" nuts is all part of the plan, to get people lining up to be shot, you have to drive them crazy first.
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 11:06am
re "Thanks, Doug. That thoughtful reply took some effort.
I agree that people aren't educating themselves. I am guilty."
Me too - it still seems impossible to fully understand the "system" after years of concentrated study.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:42pm
Those are kind words. 
I already regret that I was was a bit abrasive with a comment to a certain writer. I can get high strung sometimes, when I feel someone is attacking a core value.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 1:54pm
You are the first writer that I read.
I was thinking that these people are sharp, thoughtful, and write extemely well. Our politics differ considerably, but I like your style, in that it doesn't get one's hackles up.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 2:02pm
I am flattered that a highly educated person enjoyed my little rant. You are able to expound on subjects that I haven't a clue. I try to be understanding because you grew up near the swamp. I regret very much that you weren't raised in flyover country. We'd be comparing arsenals right now.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 2:11pm
Thanks for the comments. I admire that you are a seeker of truth. I may not have the courage to look down those rabbit holes. I am not certain what I would do with the information, anyway. Sometimes, all you can do, is to keep your head down and be 'Inconspicuous' as the obscure Mekons sang, years ago.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 2:15pm
I appreciate your input very much. I am struck by the fact that I have an uncle with a remarkably similar cv and impressive skill set. 
Doug Plumb Added Feb 20, 2018 - 3:16pm
Thanks Pardero. We either go down the rabbit hole or die in the fire above.
Jeff Michka Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:09pm
sleazy greedy carpetbagging degenerates that game the system by hiring low wage third worlders-Ah, you must mean those farmers down in places like the Imperial Valley in California.  You must see the roads and ditches lined with good, white American families, tears streaming down their faces because those terrible illegals have taken"their jobs."  Uh huh.  I thought your article was interesting, Pardero, but commenters complaining about illegals in the fields aren't playing with a full deck.
Pardero Added Feb 20, 2018 - 6:43pm
    While much tedious manual labor will always be necessary in ag, it is possible that many of these tasks have not been mechanized because of an abundance of cheap labor.
     I will say again, if a business model is unable to compete with American labor, it is flawed, and needs to adapt or be swept aside. I am confident that American ingenuity, American growers, and American labor can overcome the challenge.
     While I have some small sympathy for the growers, most migrants don't even head for the produce fields. Most set out immediately for greener pastures.
     I did notice that you added a description of color/race in your comment, where I had not. I am certain that it was inadvertent, and not a cynical and sly attempt to characterize me in a certain way.
You, likely, typed "white" out of habit, not because you are a racist, who dwells on color or race a lot. I have never even considered calling another person a racist, and I am certainly not going to start with you.
Dave Volek Added Feb 20, 2018 - 10:08pm
Nice writeup about the skill set of the trades. I used to be one of those fellows who a had a few skills in all trades. I wasn't great, but I could make a small repairs here and there (except for drywall). But when the job gets too tough, I call in the experts. 
I really don't begrude paying $50 or $100 an hour. If they fix the thing right, they are worth it. It seems strange that so many people get their hackles up to pay someone with a special skill set more than $25 an hour.
Utpal Patel Added Feb 21, 2018 - 5:06pm
People will dream up the most preposterous solutions when the answer is so simple: if the pay is high enough, they will come.
To be sure, the more an employer pays the more job candidates he will have to choose from.  The problem is that employers need to pass on those increased costs to consumers and consumers don’t really care how much it costs you to produce your widget. Let’s not forget, as the price goes up, demand goes down, leading to a reduced need for people to make widgets.  So it would appear your answer isn’t so obvious. 
Pardero Added Feb 21, 2018 - 10:27pm
Thank you for that rational and thoughtful criticism. I am not educated in economics or logical debate or any other specialty. I hope that it doesn't appear to be sophistry for me to remind you of previous challenges.
Southern plantation owners claimed that they would be ruined if they were to attempt to operate without slaves.
Industries howled that they would not be competitive without child labor.
Some businesses claimed that overtime pay would destroy them.
Large growers insisted that providing expensive sanitary toilets for ag workers would put them out of business. 
Many other enterprises dealt with rule changes and went on to prosper and thrive. Until an equilibrium is reached, in which there is little difference in world standards of living, I don't see how it can be anything but a race to the bottom.
I previously mentioned a meat packing plant that insisted that they could not operate without illegal immigrants. Then they insisted that they could not survive without imported workers. At this time, they are thriving with American workers.
With all the fantastic corporate officer pay packages and the rate at which billionaires are being created, please don't tell me that we are looking at the demise of the widget making industry because they are required to exclusively use American labor. Yes, I also support tariffs on imported widgets if American widget makers are less competitive because of a requirement to exclusively use American labor.
If all American companies must use American workers, it is a level playing field. Company A's widgets would cost a bit more but so would company B's. 
I have read of these fallacies of catastrophic expectations.
Employers must provide reasonably safe working conditions. Those that cannot comply, don't belong in business. It is a parameter that should be considered before starting the business. The use of American labor should be another of those parameters. All American business models should be developed based on the premise that they will exclusively use American labor. 
I don't think Bill Gates is on the brink of bankruptcy, and he is one of the greatest abusers of H1b visas. I know of a large local firm that is enjoying good profits. They would still have reasonably good profits if all their engineers were American, instead of 60 % American. 
Utpal, yor arguments are good ones, and well stated, but I have heard and read about similar ones before. I am confident that American industry can thrive with a parameter that never should have been removed
Utpal Patel Added Feb 22, 2018 - 4:00pm
You’re welcome. 
Each society must grapple with rules and regulations they deem just.  The more rules and regulations, the higher the cost and the less competitive a company will be.  Despite our rules and regulations, America has prospered, so it would appear it isn’t a race to the bottom. 
Take the rule about expensive sanitary toilets.  I would think a farm that provides that to its workers will have an easier time attracting workers.  The easier it is to attract workers the less they will have to pay for them.  So without the heavy hand of government doing anything, sanitary toilets could be one of those amenities companies choose to enhance their bottom line and not because they were told to do it by the government. 
I don’t support tariffs. I believe in merits of free trade.  Look in any economics text book, skip to the chapter on comparative advantage and I’m confident you’ll agree with me.  If American companies can’t produce a widget at the same or lower cost than a foreign competitor, it behooves society to buy it from that foreign provider and concentrate on those things we make cheaper/better.
Every business owner, Bill Gates included, should be encouraged to maximize profit as best they can.  It’s not Bill Gates’ responsibility to provide more jobs for Americans.  If you had attempted to limit his ability to hire foreign workers, who knows, he might have found the business climate here to onerous and generated all that wealth in some other country.  I’m happy he chose America and happy our government did the things necessary for him to succeed. 
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 4:59pm
I am flattered that my 'Everyman' rant has drawn comments from well educated and skilled writers. 
I lack the higher education and ability to debate competently. My perspective is that of the ordinary working person on the street, or in the sagebrush.
While America seems to be prospering, a lot of people are not. Underneath a shiny facade, we have a rickety and drafty building with a musty garbage strewn basement.
Many work longer hours or a second job to earn what they used to. Home ownership is dropping. Student loans are increasing and the ability to pay them back is decreasing. 
Our standard of living is dropping. I believe that the opioid epidemic and increased suicide rate is due to despair.
Young people delay gratification and work hard, while making all the right decisions, and cannot find a job in their field. Middle-aged people lose their jobs and cannot maintain the same modest lifestyle that their parents and ancestors did.
Many were taught that honest labor is honorable and a good worker will be able to support themselves. Those workers did not consent to having their jobs exported or their replacements imported. 
I believe that we must resist these trends and address the causes. As a simple ordinary American, I believe that we must take care of our own, first. I wish health, peace, prosperity, and happiness to everyone, but we must take care of our own.
George N Romey Added Feb 22, 2018 - 5:52pm
Pardero you have articulated what’s wrong with our economy and society far better than most. Never mistake education for intelligence.
If we had more high school grads running businesses than fancy Ivy Leaguers we’d probably wouldn’t have this situation. Never think those institutions teach anything more than life can to the right person. I’ve got an MBA yet have found people like you to be far more wise, understanding, and empathetic.
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 7:04pm
I am glad for all those that you supervise or conduct business with. There were too few like Robert Owen, and it seems like there are even fewer nowadays.
I may be a bit more than a little nationalistic (although I am also a bit of a Canadaphile and Europhile)  but I believe you can't carry the world on your shoulders, charity begins at home, and take care of your own, first.
David Montaigne Added Feb 22, 2018 - 10:17pm
I count several truck drivers among my friends.  None of them love the life or want to stay in it forever.  The pay can be above average if they are scheduled right.  But the lifestyle is very limiting.
Pardero Added Feb 22, 2018 - 10:49pm
It is limiting. I wait for days for a dispatch, sometimes, in my niche driving job. Other times, I work as much as Federal law allows. I can't blame my company, they are waiting for a product order. Just the nature of the business. I have been flirting with being down to our guaranteed minimum pay(employee retention device) for awhile. I did exceptionally well from last summer to Christmas, though I was rummy and sickly the whole time. I really like my fellow drivers, in spite of a couple of prickly characters. We help each other hook up to offload and chat on the CB if running. We have a brand new driver. We poached him off Halliburton. The finest and most ambitious young man that you could find. A couple weeks ago, I showed him how to set his valves to get offloaded faster. I did not intend for him to become faster than me! Yesterday, he said, "I like running with you." I was surprised at how much satisfaction that gave me.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 22, 2018 - 2:38am
The trucking industry has a serious problem
Indeed. Its called the government.
A friend of mine is selling everything. Rolling stock, equipment, airplane, cars, motorcycles and is moving to Thailand because their rules have become so onerous.
About damn time.
Pardero Added Mar 22, 2018 - 2:55am
Jeffry Gilbert,
I always appreciate your pithy comments. Thanks for reading.
The government is choking the industry. We are a cash cow for them.
I am sure that Thailand is a nice place and economical but it lacks our freedoms. With his resources, he could retire and write and be an activist. He could find a low property tax area and enjoy a simple but satisfying life. I hate to think that he will be replaced with immigrants that just want the fruits of our ancestors but don't respect what it took to gain them. They will vote in a way that takes us closer to what they left. I would hate to lose another good American. We need all the clear headed people that we can get. 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 22, 2018 - 4:09am
I am sure that Thailand is a nice place and economical but it lacks our freedoms. 
If you believe that you're badly misinformed.
Here in Thailand, where I have lived for nearly twenty years, I have more freedom under a military government coup than I ever had in the land of the formerly free. 
Mostly I am free of everyday government interference in my life unlike in DUHmerica where they are up your ass every minute of every day even when you're sleeping.
As long as I pay for my visa every year and have someone do my 90 day report they don't give a flying fuck about me. Just the way I like it. As it should be.
Thai people themselves have little interest in my activities beyond gossiping about us. 
Freedom baby! Its what life should be like for you too.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 22, 2018 - 4:13am
but don't respect what it took to gain them
I think his two tours in Iraq flying Chinooks and his medals has earned him the right to live wherever and however he likes with the time he has left.
Pardero Added Mar 22, 2018 - 8:34am
Jeffry Gilbert,
It does sound nice there. A lot of people feel the malaise here but can't quite put their finger on it. It could be that I am shielded  by living in a rural libertarian state. I might feel oppressed elsewhere.
Those words were meant for some immigrants. I already had reason to believe your friend represented the best of America. No matter the cause, I have the greatest respect for those that put their life on the line in defense of their values.
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 22, 2018 - 9:28am
 by living in a rural libertarian state.
Rural? More like 100 miles between trees. I don't know about the libertarian part either.
When I spent any time there (mid 70's) I found it to be beautiful yet unfriendly. Pulled over multiple times a day, people always making statements like "You ain't from 'round here are ya" and "Where'd you say you was from". If they were truly libertarian they'd have left me be rather than be jealous of a mid 20's professional driving a very nice automobile and eating at the best places in town three times a day every day. 
Cops followed me every fuckin' where I went from the day I got there until the day I left. I'm sure they were convinced I was a drug dealer or something. One even told me the reason he pulled me over was because I had a "foreign plate". One supposes by foreign he was referring to it being issued in another county of Wyoming than the one we were standing in. 
And what's up with that? I had to get a Wyoming plate even though I had no permanent address in Wyoming - only the best hotel room in town - paid my fuckin' tax and fees for a plate and then get hassled because its from a different county?
And you have the gall to suggest you have more freedoms? 
Jeffry Gilbert Added Mar 22, 2018 - 9:32am
 I have the greatest respect for those that put their life on the line in defense of their values.
Don't tell him that.
He put his business on hold and went because he'd had trained all his adult life to fly combat missions and wanted to see if the training was valid or not.
He damn sure didn't go to Iraq because he believed Bush's bullshit about Iraq attacking DUHmerica or being a threat to it. 
Pardero Added Mar 22, 2018 - 10:34am
Jeffry Gilbert,
Sorry about your experience in Wyoming. I know of some boomers that had similar problems.
We have no state income tax. The state and counties are funded in large part by vehicle fees and taxes. 'Foreign plates' is a way to come under the scrutiny of the law. I have heard that it gets ugly for 'foreign  plates' people. The foreign county thing is mostly in the past, but we are somewhat more county conscious than many places. Some might say that police are partly revenue officers. They are remiss in their duties if they don't check foreign plates. Each county wants the revenue.
I always believed it was derived from the old fashioned practice of keeping an eye on the neighbor's place and checking on strangers hanging around. I have only been pulled over a few times in this state. Each time I was guilty of a minor infraction but only received a verbal warning. It is not all that different from olden days where the law checks on newcomers to see what they are all about. What may seem hellish for others, gives us much confidence in law enforcement leaving us alone while being vigilant. Illegal aliens get local plates first thing and then have no other brushes with the law until they are swerving from drunk driving.
On the other hand, if you are ever broke down waiting for a tow truck or friend to help you get running, you will tire of all the people stopping to ask you if you need help. With cell phones, some now place a call on your behalf. No one is left behind, especially in the winter. We don't let anyone freeze in this state or go hungry, either. We may be slower to make new friends than some, but believe that we are true friends. Those same people that asked where you are from, will in a few months, be asking you if you need help with a project they see you working on.
Pardero Added Mar 22, 2018 - 10:37am
Jeffry Gilbert,
I opposed the Iraq War to the best of my ability including sending all I could afford to
I am able to respect those doing their duty, from the fiends that abuse them by sending them to fight meaningless wars of choice.