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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:22 PM
Original message
Late night at a truck stop
A couple of months ago I took a job at a local truck stop in order to make a bit of cash while I'm trying to find a teaching job.

Week in, week out, I see the misery that is creeping throughout this country. Some general observations, and specific instances follow.

First off, people are desperate and on the move, trying to find work anywhere they can. One of the first families that stood out came through shortly after I started. They were in a beat up old(fifty plus old) bus that they had converted to a camper. This was their home, containing all of their belongings, hopes, and dreams, such as they were. A silver beast, it was running on its last legs, doing good to make fifty five, sixty mph with a strong tailwind. Mom, Dad, two small kids, heading out to Texas and the Southwest, looking for jobs. I watched them go with sadness, hoping that the bus will make it and carry them to a better future. The modern day Joad's.

Secondly, people, even dumb redneck truckers, aren't as dumb as we like to believe around here. I've heard more than one trucker come in and, after talking awhile, mention that one solution to this economic mess we're in is to end these wars, cut the military, and start looking out for the folks here at home. As far as fuel goes, many, if not most, rightfully blame rising fuel prices on two things, oil speculators and the weakening dollar.

Third, our economy is going to go deeper into the toilet as prices continue to rise. I see people carefully putting in a certain amount, a gallon, a couple of gallons worth of gas. I see truckers coasting in on fumes because we're the cheapest fuel place for hundreds of miles. In fact one trucker blew it, and we had to bring fuel out to him, twenty miles away, because he thought he could make it.

Compounding this, tourism is already taking a hit. We're a major stop on the way to Missouri's largest tourist destination, the Lake of the Ozarks. Already folks who normally flock to the lake every weekend, every other weekend, are deciding to stay home. People aren't bringing their boats to the Lake, and with fuel so expensive, they're going to stay home, not making the three hour drive to the Lake.

Fourth, people are desperate. Drive-offs are becoming more common as fuel prices rise. Please, don't do a drive off, the only people you're hurting is your local station owner. They making just a few pennies profit on each gallon, and they don't like rising fuel prices either, it is killing their business. More people simply come in, get gas, and drive off. Most of a station's profit is derived from people coming in, getting a drink, something to eat, etc.

Fifth, more companies are soon going out of business due to high oil prices. One example, had a nursery company driver come in this morning at 4:30, fuel up, and when he went to pay with the company card, it was declined. Apparently this isn't the first time this has happened in the recent past. He finally got a hold of his boss two hours later, and after going through another card that was declined, he finally found one that worked. I felt like telling the driver that he should be worried about his next paycheck, but I'm sure he already is thinking along those lines.

Sixth, and final, trucking companies are going to start charging fuel surcharges soon, if they aren't already. That means that prices are going to climb even further, since most goods are shipped by trucks. Sadly, more pain is on the way for all of us.

That's just part of overnight life at a truckstop, and it is not pointing towards anything good.
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peacebird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. you are on the front lines, please keep your reports coming.
Depressing reading tho it is, I appreciate the insights.
Thank you.
:hugs:
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. We'll see how long I stay here,
I'm hoping that a teaching job comes up this year. If not, then I've got a decision to make, either find another profession in which to use my skills, or go to grad school for a masters. I'm hoping not to be at this truck stop much longer than a few months, but hey, it does help to pay the bills.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. Must be nice to have those options.
Ikonoklast, one of those dumb truckers you spoke of.

I suppose after you find a profession where you can use your skills or get your master's you can always claim you slummed with us low-lifes for a while.

You should hear what truckers say about the dummies that truck stops hire that don't even know how to make change.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. Sorry you didn't read or maybe you didn't understand the post
It was actually quite fascinating.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. I both read and understood it,
the barely restrained condescension came through quite nicely, however.

The OP made the mistake of thinking that every 'red-neck trucker' must be a right-wing a-hole, when in all reality there are more than a few good liberals out here on the road, and we aren't all entirely dim.

The observations made by the OP are nothing new, if you've been out on the road for any length of time you've seen the people on their last legs moving their families and belongings, the lost who are still looking, the exhausted and the beaten.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:22 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. But not all of us have been out on the road for any length of time
I found his post very interesting.
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truth2power Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #15
39. What he said was...
"aren't as dumb as we like to believe." I don't think that was condescending.

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RaleighNCDUer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #15
65. Then read it again, for comprehension.
"Secondly, people, even dumb redneck truckers, aren't as dumb as we like to believe around here. I've heard more than one trucker come in and, after talking awhile, mention that one solution to this economic mess we're in is to end these wars, cut the military, and start looking out for the folks here at home. As far as fuel goes, many, if not most, rightfully blame rising fuel prices on two things, oil speculators and the weakening dollar."

OP clearly says that the stereotype is invalid - that the people do know what is going on. It is a slam on the stereotyping, not on "dumb redneck truckers".
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LanternWaste Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:29 PM
Response to Reply #15
89. I imagine my grandfather was right...
I imagine my grandfather was right...

"Insults are funny things-- if we look hard enough, we can find them anywhere, even in places where they don't exist..."

Rock on, Gramps.
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #89
132. That's a keeper!
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:40 PM
Response to Reply #11
19. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:14 AM
Response to Reply #19
32. I see.
When you use a broad brush, it's entirely justified, but when I do it, I'm an asshole.

Tells me everything I need to know about you.

Best of luck in your new career, whatever that may be.
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Leftist Agitator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:44 AM
Response to Reply #11
31. Hey Ikonoklast...
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 01:46 AM by Leftist Agitator
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PVnRT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #11
40. I guess you just read what you want to read
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #11
43. Sorry you feel that way. That's not what I took from the story. nt
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:58 AM
Response to Reply #11
58. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
SaveAmerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #58
68. I don't think that's necessary, I will defend his chip (as you described it)
the same way I would defend the chip that is said to be on the shoulders of young black men. When you are judged by something that is out of your control (color, accent, etc) then yes, over time you become sensitive to words and actions that you (whether rightly or wrongly) perceive as against you.

I'm southern, redneck, hillbilly, liberal, progressive treehugger can't we just get along!?
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #58
87. Way to reinforce the stereotype.
I wonder why Ikonoklast is sensitive to people mocking his profession on DU?
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #11
62. Please, please read again - I believe you are referring to this sentence -
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 10:12 AM by peacetalksforall
"Secondly, people, even dumb redneck truckers, aren't as dumb as we like to believe around here."

The writer is saying that people shouldn't think of some drivers as dumb and redneck for upholding war at any cost and not relating it to what it is doing to us.

If he were working at a bait shop he could tell the same story using dumb and redneck war supporting fishermen starting to change their mind.

Dumb and redneck is an unfortunate phrasing for anyone who gives unlimited support to corporate monopoly wars that are mostly multi-national corporations that send jobs and factories out of the country and who bank offshore - hurting our country in every way possible. Dumb and redneck applies to supporting the wars using hate and fear for people of other countries.

Please - I amone who did not read it the way you are taking it. I hope I helped by explaining the way I understood it.
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SaveAmerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:51 AM
Response to Reply #11
66. I think you misunderstood his post and you're taking his words too personally
I think his point about the dumb redneck drivers isn't to say that he thinks all drivers are rednecks (whether dumb or no) but the ones that one would assume are far right conservative southern 'redneck' drivers are on the side of the people. (Because they are the people too!)

His point is excellent, I think, and is worth talking about. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it isn't always a duck!

I have the opposite problem, I have had people assume that I'm a right winger because of my support of the military (which isn't all Repub) and that I home-schooled my kids (yes, Democrats who were prejudiced against me!). They can try but they won't take away my loony libby tree hugging creds. And I don't fight them to retain my dem credentials, I teach them by example - that you can't always judge a book by its cover.

I hope that you will take a minute and re-read the message and think of it more as a lesson in why we shouldn't label.

Take care...
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #11
115. Ikonoklast, He was actually disabusing us of the notion that truckers are "Dumb Rednecks"
I knew a few truckers, none of which were dumb or rednecks

One was a Medieval Lit professor without a college...

The other was a specialist in chemical computers. Being that silicon is all the rage among computer enthusiasts, its easy to see why he couldn't find work in his field

There is only one thing in common with truck drivers I have met, and it is a love of the open road

Yeah, you get sick of it just like you get sick of too many red vines

But the open road still presents (if only the illusion) of endless possibilities

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BobTheSubgenius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #11
134. I know a long distance trucker or two. Not many, because I live on an island, though.
One of them was a sack of shit LONG before he ever became a trucker, and will be a white trash SOS long after he finally loses his license (hopefully soon) for smoking crack and crystal meth while he drives. Not a syllable of that is a lie.

The other is an African-American who used to work for...jeez, some aerospace company, the name of which I can't remember, that's fallen victim to the economy and laid him off, among many others. He is the complete antithesis of the SOS mentioned above.

And, for anyone else looking for something to be aggrieved about, the only reason I mention his ethnicity is to give even more complete contrast. I love Earl, and think he's the absolute salt of the earth, and a straight-up, sweet, honest family man.

The other guy....not so much.

Every possible subgrouping of a population has its good people, and its bad. Who here doesn't know that?
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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. Fascinating observations......

It does seem like things are about to get ugly ..... 2007 redux.


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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
3. Yellow has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for over 2 years
if they go down it is going to be really tough to get goods to market simply because of the loss of that one fleet.

Great post.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:27 PM
Response to Reply #3
24. Familiar with that -- and lots of other stuff will go with it --
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:28 PM by defendandprotect
If it has to happen -- maybe it will be an opportunity to resurrect LOCAL

business/goods?

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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:11 AM
Response to Reply #3
73. It's probably all about
putting Truck Fleets out of business so the remaining 2 or 3 can CONTROL THE MARKET AND COLLUDE ON PRICING. Just like in every other industry in the US.

And I think Oil Prices are the result of the Oil Companies colluding on price....their profits just get bigger and bigger. I think the Oil Boyz work hand-in-hand w/ Goldboy Sucks.

The Rich stick together like flies to shit.
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Sonoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
105. Yellow doesn't even bother to come to Sonoma.
Neither do a lot of the other major carriers.

Dealing with the smaller outfits drives prices thru the ceiling.

Sonoman
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ejpoeta Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. thanks for posting this. I think we all see it to some degree or another
but might not even pay much attention if it is just one fleeting moment or instance. But indeed it causes an uneasy feeling that you might not even truly understand. We are all in for a world of hurt.
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arcane1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
6. Odd as it may sound, this post was uplifting for me...
not because of the suffering described, but because of the attitude. It's nice to know there are people out there, often people we would think don't "get it", who absolutely DO get it!
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Historic NY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #6
34. +1
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Cid_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:33 PM
Response to Original message
7. I'd love to get out to Lake of the Ozarks...
... but it won't stop freaking raining.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #7
125. What does it compare to?

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MadMaddie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:41 PM
Response to Original message
8. Your observations point out to me that our dependence
on oil is killing this country. I believe we have the technology to get off of it. I think when the tax subsidies end for oil companies we may see some changes.

If someone was innovative enough they would look at big truck engines and come up with non-gas solutions.

Good Luck to you!
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lib2DaBone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
9. I drive for a living.. every morning when I go to the truck stop at 5 a.m...
I see the same cars parked in the same spots overnight. People are sleeping in the truckstops.

More homeless than even the politicians in Washington can imagine. This country is in SERIOUS trouble.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #9
20. Yep, we have our fair share of sleepers,
They generally don't come back night after night, but rather they're passing through, trying to chase down a better life somewhere else. Everything they own, packed in a car, truck or camper.
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donco Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:51 PM
Response to Original message
10. As someone that has been through a few
recessions and been a trucker/owner operator/teamster; you will be seeing a lot of college educated truckers on the road during hard times like we have now.

There are a lot of trucking jobs out their but more than likely you are making more money that they are but they dont realize it yet.Are you working at,Voss Truck Port? Lotsa luck on your getting a teaching job.
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:38 PM
Response to Original message
12. The signs are all over. If we do not see them it is our own fault. My
son-in-laws mother rides the bus all the time I asked her Sunday if more people are riding the bus. She told me that a bus that is usually half full now usually has 4-5 people standing. Up here in NE MN we still have a halfway decent railroad system for hauling things but I wonder how many other parts of the country have that? We also have the Great Lakes with boats that can transport items if needed. But I don't think anyone has even bothered to think that far even in our area.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
14. Fascinating insight to middle America
In my smaller corner of the world, I notice more people growing their own food and raising chickens. Lots of chickens.

It's very obvious the economy is in the toilet.
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CrispyQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #14
70. Hopefully the bad times will instill a stronger sense of community that we so badly lack.
If it doesn't, it will be very ugly.
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. A very good painting or picture, photo of the situation there. But
it's not depressing to me. It's just life. Life is hard, tough, nobody every said it was going to be easy.
It never was, and it never will be.
Sure, I think the Clinton years were years of boom economy, and all. And now it has ended. But this is all something that has been predicted for many years, all of my adult life, as I recall.
Things go up, and the USA has been up for many years, on top of the world, as it were. And that is just something that cannot be sustained forever; that should now be apparent.
I really think it's China's turn next.
Others say, yes, but not for long. Then other countries. But China is so big. It's size will keep it going for a long time.
Don't forget all those book titles; Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire; Rise and Fall of the British Empire (and there were more than one); Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Just the titles tell a story.
dc
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obxhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:28 AM
Response to Reply #16
56. The decline we are in is because of a theft on a grand scale
perpetrated by wall street and a lack of regulation or controls.

Had we kept the banking industry reigned in and doing business in a fair and logical way we never would have seen a collapse like we have seen.

Yes, what goes up must come down, but this down was caused by greed, not a typical fluctuation.
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #56
116. I think the greed goes a lot deeper than you think. And it may have
caused a lot of lethargy also.
dc
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obxhead Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:22 PM
Response to Reply #116
137. I agree.
That was the most basic statement one could bring to our situation.

I was simply trying to point out highs and lows are normal, but what the entire globe is experiencing is due to a grand theft, not a simple normal fluctuation. The worst part is the only people that even begin to touch on that fact essentially have zero power.

This is where I have seen the largest failures of Obama and the administration he put into place with our overwhelming vote.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #16
72. I think those book titles are misleading= they imply ebb and tide. This down
turn for mere people has all been planned by our own corporate monopolies. We are NOT one country. We are rulers and people who are surfs and dispensable in their eyes.
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:35 AM
Response to Reply #72
78. You're right there: the "pedulum" analogy tends to ignore...
...the degree to which pushing is involved.
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:43 AM
Response to Reply #78
80. Yes, China's rise is sync'd to our fall - all by design. The Bilderbergers and affilliates planned
it all.
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #80
83. umm, that's not quite what I meant
Should there be sarcasm tags on your posts above?
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:09 PM
Response to Reply #80
121. No. Disagree. I think you are paranoid. The economy of the world
runs on a scale beyond and bigger than anything or anyone, not by planning. I don't believe any of those "world conspiracy" things.
I don't believe it's all a 'plot by the pope' or anyone or anything else. But then, that's sort of similar to my lack of believe in a god or 'great creator' of all I see in nature. Do I believe it just happened. Yes, I don't not believe there is a man in the sky who created it all.
dc
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peacetalksforall Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #121
139. No it is not a 'world conspiracy' it is a very privante conspiracy, it takes
Edited on Wed Apr-27-11 08:46 AM by peacetalksforall
many operatives, but it is narrowly ruled. Every single State Department for a half century has been run by the Council on Foreigh Relations - they are an arm of the Bilderberg Group. And they have their counterparts in the UK and some other countries. It is becoming very easy to figure out. You can figure it out without touching on anything religious or occult. There may be two or three dozen concepts or versions of what some call a new or one world order - there is only one Bilderberg Group world order with it's many Institutes and Foundations and Councils and Commissions (as in Tri-Lateral) and its version of a new world order. Kissinger is a major coordinator. It is for real, it is not a social club. This is the one to learn about. It explains everything that has been going on when you study a little.

Conspiracy means floating around out there (to me). The Bilderberg Group is coming into focus very nicely - there is no reason to call it a conspiracy when you find about their make-up and read their quotes.

Not covered by the big four papers in this country? It is because they belong to the Bilderberg Group (three of them in particular) - decades of participation - in addition to the media, there are members from industies - weapons, agrilculture, and even the beverage companies. Banking wall street, military as well as behavior and brainwashing entities. Lots and lots of think tanks and foundations. All our Presidents have been members or attended (at least one of)their meetings, including Kerry and Edwards before 'winning' the roles.

It's not fog, it's solid meat and potatoes rule. Read some of their quotes - they are as prophetic as the Pearl Harbor quote by PNAC. Clarity .., that makes total sense in light of what we see unraveling before us.

There is a good reference starter book by Estulin. It's becoming easier and easier to study them. Avoid the quirky sources. Stick with meat and potatoes Bilderbergers and their spidering out entities.

If you question the continuity - if you question personages - consider this - Summer, Bernanke, Geitner, Greenspan have been or are still members.
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #72
117. Wrong. The corporate monopolies want you up, not down, so you
can pay for their corporate welfare.
dc
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JHB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:47 AM
Response to Reply #16
81. There are some other book I think are of more immediate value...
Reposting an old post of mine.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

One of the things I find that comes up when talking with people about the economy, globalization, etc., is many peoples' belief that it was all rather inevitable, so complaining about it is like complaining about the tide: you can do it, but it's pointless.

I don't have to wonder why they think that -- the "liberal" media has repeated the theme for nearly thirty years now -- but sometimes I wonder how it is that I became "inoculated" against this. Why am I so sure things didn't have to play out this way and that deliberate political decisions were at least as important as "the invisible hand" in bringing about what Paul Krugman called "The Great Unraveling".

Well, part of it was what I'd been reading. I can't exactly give my full reading list for the last 20 years, but I can recommend a few books that will help when it comes to fixing the "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and "Talking to an Elephant" problems.

Reporters James B. Steele and Donald L. Barlett wrote a series of articles, some for The Philadelphia Enquirer, some for Time, on how the changing economy was playing out for ordinary people. The first, published in book form in 1992, is a little dated, but that actually works in its favor now, since it's entirely pre-Clinton. The later series/books followed up on the same or similar themes, and collectively they serve as quite an information source and teaching tool when you try to explain to people just how far this "squeeze the middle" and "starve the beast" effort goes back.
2011 update: they have a website at: http://barlettandsteele.com

Robert Fitch is a former labor organizer, reseacher, and author. (see http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/28/opinion/28fitch.html for a more recent NYTimes op-ed from him)

Pick'em up at your library, or at a bookstore, and get

America: What Went Wrong?
by James B Steele, Donald L. Barlett
Paperback: 252 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (January 1, 1992)
ISBN: 0836270010
"Worried that you are falling behind, not living as well as you once did?..."
http://www.amazon.com/America-Wrong-Donald-L-Barlett/dp...
Chapter 1 of "America: What Went Wrong" can be found here:
http://www.politicalindex.com/wrong1.htm

AMERICA: WHO REALLY PAYS THE TAXES?
by Donald L. Barlett
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Remaindered Marked edition (March 23, 1994)
ISBN: 0671871579
http://www.amazon.com/America-Who-Really-Pays-Taxes/dp/...

America: Who Stole The Dream?
by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
Paperback: 276 pages
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (June 1, 1996)
ISBN: 0836213149
"Let's suppose, for a moment, there was a country where the people in charge charted a course that eliminated millions of good paying jobs..."
http://www.amazon.com/America-Stole-Donald-L-Barlett/dp...

The Great American Tax Dodge: How Spiraling Fraud and Avoidance Are Killing Fairness, Destroying the Income Tax, and Costing You
by Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele
Paperback: 302 pages
Publisher: University of California Press; 1st Califo edition (September 2, 2002)
ISBN: 0520236106
"A woman forms a company to conduct "research" for the benefit of her minor children and writes a monthly "rent" check to her husband to..."
http://www.amazon.com/Great-American-Tax-Dodge-Destroyi...

The Assassination of New York
by Robert Fitch
ISBN-10: 1859841554
ISBN-13: 978-1859841556
http://www.amazon.com/Assassination-New-York-Robert-Fit...
The original edition was from 1996, but according to the Verso site there was a 2002 (post-Guliani) update. Fitch details how the loss of manufacturing jobs and the increased emphasis on the FIRE sector (finance, Insurance, and real estate) in NYC (and similar policies occured across the country) wasn't just a natural evolution of business, technology, and globalism, but was the result of deliberate policy decisions which (further) enriched the well-connected.
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david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #81
118. Wow. That's a lot of reading. I doubt if I will ever get to it, particulary
on ideas that are of margin interest to me, at best. I have a life to live.
And even if I did know all this stuff, what could I do with this knowledge? Run for office? Write letters to people. No. I need to go and ride my bicycle.
dc
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 09:28 PM
Response to Original message
18. Thank you for illustrating very clearly what the fuel prices are doing to so many of us.
Yet, there are still so many "progressives" who want to see even HIGHER fuel prices.

MEAN. Just MEAN.

Best wishes to you, and I hope you will send more reports as long as you are there.

:yourock:
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #18
54. I don't think they want to see suffering via higher gas prices.
They want a sane energy policy. In lieu of that...
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #54
69. Unintended consequences.
I highly doubt that anyone here wants to see people suffer due to higher gas prices - but they sure as fuck ignore that consequence. I have seen MANY threads started (and responses supporting) the desire for higher gas prices as a way to change personal consumption habits.

Everyone wants a sane energy policy. Cheering about higher gas prices is just a dick move. Period.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #69
110. What's the alternative?
No suffering. No gas price increases. No policy change.

Reconcile them for me.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #54
102. To be more clear: THEY. DON'T. CARE. ABOUT. THE. SUFFERING.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:16 PM
Response to Reply #102
111. I do (care).
You can let gas prices increase and alleviate suffering by having a comprehensive energy policy. The longer you wait, the higher the cost of the alleviation.

The most obvious part of that policy is a mass transit network that removes gas prices from the equation.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #111
130. The muddleclass just doesn't get it.
That is not "caring".
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:26 PM
Response to Reply #18
88. Yes, it really is cruel
I dated a big "progressive" activist in college who absolutely loathed the white poor underclass and who "couldn't wait for gas prices to go over $5 a gallon so they'd learn not to drive big honking trucks." He didn't care that, in the country, people NEED "big honking trucks" for their work. He didn't care about people who have to drive at all, actually; he was from LA :eyes: Needless to say, we had a big fight, and he acted like I was the bad guy for calling him out on his insidious bigotry. We broke up very soon thereafter.

I too am sick beyond belief of "progressive" attitudes that disregard the poor and working classes in the middle of the country because they "vote red" or whatever other inane divisive bullshit.
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bobbolink Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #88
101. Thank you for making it clear that there ARE "progressive" Bigots. AND, their targets are usually
poor and homeless people, because we don't enjoy the protection of groups like NAACP, NOW, Anti-Defamation League, etc. So, the free-floating rage in this country, which so many "progressives" cannot look into themselves enough to see, seeks a target, and we are the path of least resistance.

You know, kinda like BULLIES.

I appreciate that you saw this, and are willing to speak to it. It isn't uncommon. :cry: And the emotional effect on us is devastating.

That said, I will now say that by far the MOST common experience, and the most *damaging*, is SILENCE.

When you reallyy look at just how little is said about poverty and homelessness in any of the "progressive" media, and forums like DU, you can see the reality of the situation, and understand the damage done to us, PLUS the atmosphere that is created which says that the cuts to us don't matter... we aren't politically important.

That SILENCE and the results go against all traditional thought and belief, including religious, moral, civil rights, and democracy itself.

I hope you will continue to speak out on this issue... we NEED... no, we are DESPERATE for voices like yours!

:yourock:
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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #88
109. True! Rinse, repeat, wash: POVERTY IS AN INSITUTION
...this is an institution based on racism, sexism (including LGTB issues), ageism, and classism. the reason it stays in place is that other classes benefit from those in poverty and it is about keeping poverty the way it is ingrained and wedged into our society.

Unless you are a monk, POVERTY IS NOT A "PERSONAL CHOICE"

Until people stop either making the poor invisible and ignoring them or drag them out of the shadows where they have put them and use them to either:

A Make themselves feel good because they thought they had a "solution" that is about assuming a person is poor because of a personal choice

B Take large sums of donations and federal grants to pay themselves and then pat themselves on the back for how "good" they are to "help" the poor

C. Blame them for all the social ills out there that their own communities are as guilty of if not worse (like alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse)

D Punitively punish the poor with dummas laws and policies that never affect them with their expensive lawyers, paid-off "friends" in the System, to show they are "tough on crime"

E Exploit the poor using them for "cheap labor" they themselves would never deign to do, but expect the worker to give their entire mind and bodies over for a few dollars in order to "keep the expense down" for themselves while thinking nothing of paying as much for a car as a house used to cost

F Use the poor to attend those glittering fundraisers where rich people give their tax-deductible "donations", hire their friends in upper management for those 6 figure jobs, and spend more on the gown or tuxedo for this even than what they would give so they look all "charitable" and stuff ...

G Think nothing of forcing a low income person to fill out reams of paperwork forced to reveal painful and personal information so they can "prove" they are really poor but their "benefactors" don't have to prove a thing about their own REAL tax/social/exploitive/tax-eating enablement while taking thousands of federal and donated dollars for themselves literally giving themselves 10 times the amount they "gave" from right out of their client's mouths.

I could go on but you know of what I speak ...

Cat in Seattle
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-27-11 09:23 AM
Response to Reply #88
140. Prejudices always make it easy to betray your ideals.
There is always some supposed justification, some oh so reasonable excuse, some perfectly logical reason why "those people" don't need to be taken into consideration, or why they aren't really important, or why the are part of the problem and therefore it's okay to be punitive towards them to get to the better future on the other side.

Somehow prejudices always make it okay to do bad things to "those" people in order to make the world better for everyone.

Poor people always seem to be "those" people, and "those" people always seem to be poor.
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progressiveinaction Donating Member (91 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:54 PM
Response to Reply #18
127. Exactly.
Especially mean considering that poor people probably don't have the most fuel efficient cars either.

I doubt an 86' Buick gets great gas mileage.
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TheCanadianLiberal Donating Member (245 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:00 PM
Response to Reply #127
136. They get ok mileage...
About 20mpg however, I'm sure many poor people don't have the cleanest cars which would mean there is extra crap adding weight and reducing economy.



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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
21. A) I want to read more from your unique perspective and B) What part...
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:15 PM by Poll_Blind
...of the country are you in? Or, if you're OK with the probing question, what city and state? I'm just interested in general geography. I think I echo at least one other person when I say I want to hear more from your perspective. That isn't something we can easily get from a newspaper or on TV.

Thanks!

OnEdit: And don't forget to put pieces like this in your journal! I've found myself going into more than a few journals looking for more when I've read something I found useful. So be sure to add any op you think is important to it!

PB
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:17 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. I'm somewhere in that one hundred mile radius called Mid Missouri
I won't get terribly more specific than that because I value my anonymity.

But thank you for the compliment, and I will pass on more as time and circumstances warrant.
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. Thanks for the info. I was born in New Orleans but left for the East, then West coast when...
Edited on Mon Apr-25-11 10:38 PM by Poll_Blind
...I was 12 or 13. But up until that age I traveled a hell of a lot by car from Louisiana to Florida. I live in Oregon now but I'm real interested in the real that's going on in the heartland of the country.

Because there's a hell of a lot of America tucked in there and it doesn't get a whole lot of press. If we're getting hit that hard...well, for me anyway, reading what you wrote was cause for some concern.

PB
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
23. Too bad Obama and the Democrats don't know about any of this -- !! No access to info!!
But do appreciate your heart in trying to tell us and warn us --

I used to stand in awe of Spring/Nature -- wondering what we were doing --

Now, as I see the attempts to begin a new Spring and the damage we've done --

I can only stand ashamed.

Needless to say, when Americans do wake up it will be too late -- on every issue!

But it's still necessary to save a little pain here and there!!

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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #23
79. Agree. They seems late to the table on many things folks are pissed about
Rachel pointed this out yesterday about medicare.
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Kablooie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
26. I don't feel like we're at the end of the recession. We're at the beginning of the depression.
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Pacifist Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #26
46. That's how I feel as well. I don't think we've seen the worse yet by a long shot.
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abelenkpe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #26
47. +1 nt
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BillyJack Donating Member (653 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #26
59. I agree n/t
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
27. My son is an owner/operator.
He bought a tractor and trailer in 2004 and went into business for himself after driving for others for almost 20 years. From Day #1 he has had a fuel surcharge in every one of his hauling contracts. He never would've survived the fuel price volatility without it.

He plans on staying in business and expanding his operation to four trucks this year. He wants to provide jobs for friends of his who have recently lost their jobs in trucking. It's not easy but he cares about people who have families like he does.
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BoWanZi Donating Member (502 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. good luck to him! I always thought that being an owner/operator in a bad economy was very hard
I really hope his business works for him and his friends. Its really hard being an owner operator these days.
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #29
108. Too many owner/operators went out of business the past few years.
The current fuel prices are sure to end the careers of more. If my son could put six more trucks on the road he'd have loads for all of them. The work is there. It's the overhead that's killing today's independents.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #27
36. My first girlfriend's dad was a trucker.
One of those guys who fit under the "gentlemen of the road" title that truckers earned so long ago. Sounds like your son belongs to the club, too. Best of luck to him!
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Lugnut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #36
106. My son is a young man - age 42.
He's an old school trucker, though. Thanks for your best wishes.
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BoWanZi Donating Member (502 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:13 AM
Response to Original message
28. Recced since you speak exactly what is going on out there
My buddy is a trucker too and he has always said that an early sign of a bad economy is when freight slows down to a trickle compared to what it was.

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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #28
44. But of course, that's not what is happening.
What is actually happening is freight is picking up and most companies are hiring.

The OP is speaking from just "a couple of months" of experience working in a truck stop. Sorry, but that isn't long enough to get a real take on what is normal, what is busy and what is slow. He is seeing barely one small segment of one part of the economic cycle.
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Safetykitten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:20 AM
Response to Original message
30. If any person in our party leadership lived a week in the shoes of the average, then they would...
maybe get it.

But they won't.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
33. That is interesting. Particularly the "modern-day joads".
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 05:25 AM by Hannah Bell
In my own small town I noticed last week when I made an extended drive around town -- empty storefronts & businesses continue to increase.

However, our unemployment rate has declined from 15% to 13%.
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #33
77. Here's an article
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
35. Recently our hot water heater went out.
After waiting 6 months to save the money, we finally called a plumber. About 8 years ago we had a problem with our septic line clogging up. It took 5 weeks to get a plumber out because they were all very busy. But when we called recently to compare prices, I could have gotten 4 plumber out on a Saturday too.

Plumber don't seem to be as busy anymore.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:15 AM
Response to Original message
37. Thanks for sharing your observations.
I think this is only the start. When gas prices reach levels like $4.50/gal the shit will hit the fan. There will be wholesale stealing of gas for one, not just drive offs. People will simply not be able to afford the essentials like rent, heat and food.

I do believe much of this stems from the GOP attempt to tar Obama with the high gas prices.
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totodeinhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:25 AM
Response to Original message
38. I wonder if this will rub off on Obama or not. So far I am seeing mixed signs.
I know that this is anecdotal, but some of my friends realize that the rise in fuel prices might to a certain extent be out of Obama's control. But yet some of them having realized that nevertheless might not vote for him next time if fuel prices continue to rise. I know that might not seem logical, but often voters just lash out like they did in the 2010 elections.
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:32 AM
Response to Original message
41. "arent as dumb as we like to believe around here"....
but, in November, they will still pull that STRAIGHT repug ticket. For that alone, they deserve the DUMB label.
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:05 AM
Response to Reply #41
71. Your ignorance is showing
And your bias.

You obviously know little about blue collar workers (red neck is a pejorative term when used here)and their voting habits. I am from a small town in GA. Most all of the lower echelon people vote Democratic and they are as blue collar as they come.

However, if the whole willful ignorance and broad brush hatred of a large group of people is working for you...well who am I to tell you that you are wrong?
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:49 PM
Original message
dupe
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 07:49 PM by OwnedByFerrets
dupe
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OwnedByFerrets Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #71
135. I live in one of the largest areas in the US for rednecks and MOST of them
vote straight repug. I cant stand MOST of them for that. I HATE many of them for that. If your milage varies, fucking great, but get off MY fucking back. I dont need your fucking preaching to me about fucking rednecks.
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PavePusher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #41
75. That'll win hearts and minds, oh yeah.... n/t
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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
42. Truckers: most are republicans and yes those are dumb as rocks. Fuel
surcharges have been around for a very long time. The reason for costs of goods rising so much is J.I.T. (just in time). Goods now are manufactured and stored in warehouses owned by a third party. They make money storing the goods for manufacturer. This is the main reason costs have skyrocketed. Sometimes goods are stepped on more than once (different warehouses before final destination). So many things are happening that people are just not aware of. It's true that fuel costs cause a increase in final retail price but it's pennies on the dollar, not a 50 % or more increase. Packaging believe it our not is a huge cost for the reasons I stated above. Hope this helps.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:32 AM
Response to Reply #42
76. This post is what is wrong with the democratic party.
How in the world do you convince folks to vote for you when you constantly degrade and condescend to them? I grew up blue collar, know plenty of truck drivers, and they really are not that stupid. Many "low-information" voters understand the issues just fine and reject the elite attitude.

There is a saying "People may forget what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel".
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #76
84. "People may forget what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel".
Great thing for us all to be reminded of --

that we should be judged by how we treat others --

and a great minder to those of us on websites engaging in debate where

pressures of trying to make a point can often cause us to forget that - !!

Thanks!!

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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #76
94. This post is exactly what the Democratic party needs to
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 01:04 PM by RegieRocker
realize what they are dealing with. You can lead a horse to water......

Focus on the rest of the post it would do you good.
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totodeinhere Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #42
85. There is enough stupidity to go around in this country. But to single out truckers
is wrong. In fact, I will stick out my neck and take a guess that there might even be a few stupid people posting to DU. Most are very intelligent, but as I said, there is a lot of stupidity to go around.
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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #85
93. You need to tune in to the trucking channel on xm.
I call it as I experience it. No other way of putting it. Talk to you're blue in the face if you want. Not all flea partiers are open to persuasion.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #93
95. Your "experience" is listening to the trucking channel on xm?
You've not actually spoken to any of these people in person? Why am I not surprised.
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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #95
97. I speak to them daily. Oh and by the way focus on the rest
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 01:03 PM by RegieRocker
of the post it would be good for you to do so.
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TBF Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:26 PM
Response to Reply #97
99. The rest of the post -
there's not much we can do about zealots funded by the Koch Bros. - agree on that.

My position is that we need to do a better job talking to average folks. I don't think we're doing that very well for many reasons, but the elite factor is one of them.
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RegieRocker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:33 PM
Response to Reply #99
133. The dark side is strong once consumed by it never to return
unless by a extreme circumstance. That was my point.
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
45. We are still getting charged a surcharge from when gas ran up back in '08...
We store our records with a particular storage company. Nationwide outfit.

during the run up in '08, that started tacking on a surcharge for deliveries.

when the prices went back down, they still kept the surcharge.

now that prices are back up, they haven't sent out a notice but I'm fully expecting a jump in the surcharge.

Things are changing, people are suffering, but what do our elected officials do? They launch yet another "investigation" as to why the prices have gone up. Let me guess, the results will come back AFTER the election.
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
48. While I think you are being sincere and I appreciate your perspective, you're wrong on a couple of..
points.

Like Ikonoklast above, I too am an Over-The Road trucker. Besides Ikonoklast, there are a number of other drivers who regularly post on DU and after reading their posts over the years, I am pretty sure that I have been on the road as long or longer than any of them (With all due respect, Ikon)

I drove my first 18 wheeler in 1978 and got my first OTR gig in 1987. I've been doing this a VERY long time and I am telling you, the things you mention ARE NOT NEW, not by a long shot.

Week in, week out, I see the misery that is creeping throughout this country.


The fact that you work in a truck stop makes this a given, regardless of when you started or the present times. Truck stops are place where travelers frequent. You are going to see misery at one, just as you would if you spent all your time at a homeless shelter.

First off, people are desperate and on the move, trying to find work anywhere they can. One of the first families that stood out came through shortly after I started. They were in a beat up old(fifty plus old) bus that they had converted to a camper. This was their home, containing all of their belongings, hopes, and dreams, such as they were. A silver beast, it was running on its last legs, doing good to make fifty five, sixty mph with a strong tailwind. Mom, Dad, two small kids, heading out to Texas and the Southwest, looking for jobs. I watched them go with sadness, hoping that the bus will make it and carry them to a better future. The modern day Joad's.


Nothing new. I've seen similar families on the road since I started. Is there an an uptick of people traveling in such a way? Sure. Is it like a scene from "The Grapes of Wrath" where similar vehicles and families fill the roadway? NO. Your comparison to the "Joads" is dramatic, but silly.

Secondly, people, even dumb redneck truckers, aren't as dumb as we like to believe around here. I've heard more than one trucker come in and, after talking awhile, mention that one solution to this economic mess we're in is to end these wars, cut the military, and start looking out for the folks here at home. As far as fuel goes, many, if not most, rightfully blame rising fuel prices on two things, oil speculators and the weakening dollar.


I agree with Ikonoklast on this one. It IS condescending. If you would really "like to believe" most truckers are dumb rednecks, you are welcome to it. While there is more than a fair share of dumb people, redneck or otherwise driving trucks (after all, it doesn't take a Masters degree to get a CDL), your statement smacks of a superiority complex. Drivers these day ARE more informed than they used to be because of the advent of the internet, satellite radio and greater access to news sources in general. While many still listen to Limbaugh, many more than ever before are listening to NPR.


Third, our economy is going to go deeper into the toilet as prices continue to rise. I see people carefully putting in a certain amount, a gallon, a couple of gallons worth of gas. I see truckers coasting in on fumes because we're the cheapest fuel place for hundreds of miles. In fact one trucker blew it, and we had to bring fuel out to him, twenty miles away, because he thought he could make it.


You are assuming that fuel prices won't ever come down again. They will. It is more likely that they will than they will continue to rise. You can't honestly think that "people putting in a certain amount" is something new or is an indicator of any major trend. People have been doing such things since they had to start paying for fuel. As far as the driver that "blew it", also nothing new. Drivers run out of fuel all the time. It isn't fun and no one wants it to happen, but it isn't any kind of indicator as you are suggesting. It is one guy who miscalculated how far he could still go when his gauge was pointing at "E". Hang at that truck stop a little longer and you'll realize that.

I could continue, but this is really sort of pointless. Your observations are from a very narrow perspective, from one fueling facility in middle America. I would like to invite you to the TA at I-10 and I 15 in Fontana. Hang there for a couple hours and see if you think things are slowing down. And their fuel is over $4.20/gal currently. Or go to the Petro on I-285 on the west side of Atlanta. Or any number of other truck stops not tucked away in your little corner of the world.

Is everything rosy? NO, it isn't. But the fact is, freight tonnage is up and most large companies are hiring, NOT laying off. The companies that are or will go out of business in this environment would have likely gone out of business anyway, so that point is moot as well.

Again, I appreciate your perspective and I am sure you are sincere in your post, but your experience is hardly a reflection of the trucking industry as a whole nor is it a complete commentary on the state of the nation.
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efilon Donating Member (90 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #48
53. Thanks, I too thought "dumb truckers" was rather derogatory
I used to live in a town where most of the men were truckers. One or two of them might have been considered "dumb" or "rednecks" but they were all friends and would pitch in whenever someone or even the town needed some help.

Has anyone heard of the Teamsters? Many long haul truckers who work for some companies all belong to the union and I would say that most of them vote democratic in elections.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #53
103. i thought the OP's point was dispelling the myth/elite stereotype of "dumb truckers"
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A HERETIC I AM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:10 PM
Response to Reply #53
138. It is unfortunate, but the number of truckers that are Teamsters is diminishing.
The largest easily recognizable group out there that are Teamsters is United Parcel Service. Yellow/Roadway is not out of business yet, but their share price has been in the toilet for quite a while and they are struggling to keep market share. Companies like Roadway/Yellow are what are known as "LTL" carriers. That is "Less Than a Load" or less than a full trailer load of freight going to the same place. They carry everything too heavy for a normal UPS truck (70 pounds or more) and will deliver anywhere within a defined distance of one of their terminals. Need a new gear for your bulldozer and it weighs 350 pounds? Ship it LTL. Need 450 pounds of rivets? Ditto. Boxed up xmas presents or frozen beef? UPS. Need 40,000 pounds of insulation or plastic beads? A truckload carrier is for you. They operated for decades like the bus service or the airlines, with scheduled runs and predictable delivery times. They are being beaten out for market share by several other non-union firms as well as by UPS who has gotten into the LTL business. When you see a truck with "UPS Freight" on the side, that is an LTL operation. Fed-Ex ha gotten into that segment as well and they are, as you probably know, VEHEMENTLY anti union.

Even new car deliveries are losing Teamster drivers. It is a good bet that the Fords, Chrysler's and GM vehicles delivered to your local dealership were delivered by a Teamster driver. But the Honda's, Nissan's, Toyota's, Hyundai's, BMW's, Mercedes, and virtually every other brand, be they built here or inbound off ships were NOT.
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auntAgonist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #48
61. A very well written post. Thank you from
a former O/O.

be safe.

aA
kesha
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Brickbat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #48
67. Love this post.
Anecdotes are just that, anecdotes. Thanks for the bigger picture, and I agree about the condescension.

I have to say I often hear these kinds of stories when someone who "doesn't usually" take "this kind of job" and begins to see how the rest of the country lives. They think it's a new thing, or that it's a symbol of things falling apart. Not really. It's been going on all the time.
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Dappleganger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 11:13 AM
Response to Reply #48
74. In agreement with you...
except I don't think the OP was trying to be condescending, but informative--just like your post was also very, very informative.

Back in 1991, I worked part-time at a gas station in a central area of the city and was shocked at first, but then realized that this kind of stuff goes on all the time (it does ebb and flow, however--1991 was during a recession period). The owner would remark from time to time about more drive-offs, but he also said there'd always been drive-offs in the city (just like there would always be twinkees and Big Malts walking out the door on their own).

People are acting like this is the first big recession we've ever been through--it certainly isn't. It is prolonged for the middle class, and hurts more of us than it usually does. But for certain classes of people this is just how it is, all the time.

As for truck drivers being "dumb", it's an image which is also unfairly perpetuated by the media. Where we used to live in VA, a truck driver was the soul of the middle class and quite often the most financially stable person in the family. If housing and medical prices hadn't skyrocketed so much it would still be the case.
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WildEyedLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #48
91. Thank you - three of my uncles are/were truckers
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 12:36 PM by WildEyedLiberal
None of them were stupid hicks. Were they country boys? You bet. Were they educated? Not beyond high school. But the last time I checked education is NOT synonymous with intelligence (please see Bush, George W., for the relative effect of an Ivy League education on someone without any native intelligence), and, shockingly, not everyone from the country is a hootin' hollerin' racist redneck piece of trash, as much as some in the more isolated pockets of "Blue America" might like to think so.
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deutsey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
49. There have been two bank robberies in the small-town community I live in
One happened yesterday, in fact.

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blueamy66 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
50. My guy sells foodstuffs to convenience stores,
truck stops, gas stations.....his sales have been down for over 2 years. He gets alot of new stores signed, but not alot of sales in the older ones.

People at the truck stops are only buying fuel....they aren't going in to buy sodas, food, etc....or so he says.

Now go look at a QT in the morning here in AZ. They are PACKED.

So there are still alot of people in the city that have good jobs and spend money like they used to....but maybe not so much on the outskirts.

Anyone?
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #50
63. Both QTs in my neighborhood in North Georgia
are always packed. And people are not just gassing up. They are buying food and drinks in the convenience store. I buy cigarettes QT or RacTrack because they are the cheapest around.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
51. Great post. Keep posting. rec'd. nt
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Turbineguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
52. Thanks for that post.
Not doubting any of your observations. What's happening out there is terrible. People are caught up in events not of their doing and coping as best they can (including you). It takes remarkable strength. And there, but for the Grace of God go I.

At one time in the North West you could drop out of high school and make a decent living in the woods in the logging industry. Honest hard work, lots of fresh air. Then along came the tree huggers with their spotted owl and put everybody out of business. Or so it would seem. In reality, most job losses were due to technology improvements in harvesting and processing of wood products. Factories were shuttered and logs were shipped overseas for processing. Hard working people with good work ethics were left by the wayside.

While higher fuel prices are certainly a factor, the cause for the decline in trucking might be in that more is shipped by train, people are looking for local produce and factors like that.

Our economic system does not do well when jobs go away. People are left twisting in the wind. AMFYOYO. As a society we still pay for these costs, in the same way we pay for health costs of those who cannot pay. But it's an economically inefficient system and causes undue suffering.

But in order for those at the top of the heap to reap obscene rewards, those at the bottom must be wiped out. And the causes for this suffering must be blamed on something else entirely. I'm not sure if those of us in the middle who observe this have any power to change things. But we do need to.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
55. We already pay fuel surcharges for deliveries where I work...and
the prices are steadily climbing. My stories aren't as interesting as the folks you seem to be meeting, but there is a quiet desperate dignity in many of the people across the counter from me.
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4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #55
123. I've been collecting a fuel surcharge for YEARS
A fuel surcharge is nothing new in the trucking industry. It is going higher with every rise in price at the pump. But it doesn't even come close to helping with the rising cost of fuel as I make less income as a result.

For instance I would have made $2400 from a recent trip but I had to pay $1000 for fuel and that was on top of a $1500 fuel surcharge. So I only made $1400 for driving across country.

And yes there are plenty of fucking stupid red-neck, right-wing truckers and I deal with them at every truck stop. I just love showing everyone how stupid they are over the CB as they repeating indefensible right-wing lies.
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bongbong Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 09:34 AM
Response to Original message
57. I hate to get political ....
.... in a political blog :-) , but have you thought about putting a thought-bug in the minds (of the folks you get to talk to)? Something real innocent-sounding like "Well, you know, the billionaires are doing great! I bet they're happy they got their taxes cut!"

Or, if you have already done little things like that, what has the reaction been? I'm thinking there's an ocean of Reds out there that could be swung over to Blue.
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AlbertCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #57
60. an ocean of Reds out there that could be swung over to Blue.
Perhaps...


But my anecdotal evidence keeps coming up with GOPers who hate what the GOP is doing and don't like their GOP rep and complain about their GOP senator all the time.... but are gonna vote GOP anyway 'cause... well they always have! I mean what else can they do? There's no alternative to always voting GOP.... apparently. They'd rather lose their jobs and houses than vote Dem. Dems'll just raise taxes!!!!!!
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DirkGently Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 10:27 AM
Response to Original message
64. Beautiful piece. The country's most expensive gas station is a mile from where I sit. $5.69 regular.

... notorious around here. Catching people returning rentals to the airport. None of which is to undercut the point that local station owners are not generally to blame at all. I've heard other "regular folks" opine that allowing speculation to set fuel prices "ought to be illegal."

Perhaps we're all catching on a bit. I hope so.
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lark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
82. Bad times everywhere
Know what you mean about the hurt working people are feeling. My son's out of work, is getting unemployement, has applied for over 50 jobs and no one will hire a kid who made mistakes as a young adult and has a record. No violence or theft, just a very minor drug charge but he still can't get a job doing what he did for 8 years and places that don't background ck won't hire him because "he's over-qualifeid". So, my husband and I are helping him out. When he loses his unemployment, he'll be living with us if he hasn't found a job by then. My husband & I still have the same jobs, but he runs a Brake Repair shop and business is down 35% from 2009 so our income from him is down that much. Now my work is saying that it thinks I'm overpaid for the current economic times and my pay could also end up being drastically cut. Don't know how we can survive and keep our youngest in college for another year while having increased expenses from our son moving in with us? I've eliminated my 403B donations, we're driving old cars and not eating out anymore so we're doing OK right now. Just don't know how we could absorb another loss though, and we are lucky compared to what's happening with lots of others.

Repugs are winning and destroying the middle class , as planned.
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:19 PM
Response to Reply #82
112. Hang in there!
We are just going to have to take care of each other, somehow. You're in the same boat with a whole lot of other people.
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Rosa Luxemburg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
86. The trucker speaks for many people in this capitalist country
cut unnecessary war spending get out of Iraq (what are we spending our money on there now?)
fund local services and the infrastructure.
it sickens people to see CEOs get big bonuses and companies getting out of paying taxes.

I think people are finally waking up. Who will be blamed?
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
90. Interesting! Your job is going to "select" for misery, in a sense, though . . .
Edited on Tue Apr-26-11 12:36 PM by hatrack
Plenty of people travel for business or on vacation, and as you noted, plenty of people travel because they're desperately seeking something better than what they have now.

I was talking to my Dad about the economy a while back, and he said something interesting along these lines. He was born in 1923 and though he remembers the Depression as a kid and an adolescent, he remembers it quite vividly.

We were talking about just what you call an economy like this (this was back in 2009) and he said "I'm not sure exactly where we are now, but I know how you'll be able to tell that we're in a depression and not a recession. It's when you see people - a lot of people - walking."
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emilyg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
92. Thank you for posting.
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swilton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:01 PM
Response to Original message
96. If trucksters would charge higher fees for food transport
then that may foster incentives for people to buy local - a good move.
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vduhr Donating Member (481 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
98. I'm certainly noticing the effects of high gas prices on
grocery prices. I've noticed a significant markup, over the course of just a few weeks, of things I buy on a regular basis. I think you are seeing the result of people who have lost their unemployment (99ers) benefits. I have been wondering if or when we would see this happen. Sadly, things are only going to get worse.
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
100. kr, i particularly appreciated the observation about the not-so-dumb "redneck truckers"...

please follow up with these reports, thank you for this! - and good luck in finding a teaching job!! :hi:
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Sherman A1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #100
107. Agreed
I deal with truck drivers all day long in my job as a receiving clerk at a supermarket and I will be the first to tell you that these are hard working people who do in fact have both intelligence and a solid work ethic.

THEY GET IT. It is unfortunate that truck drivers are so denigrated by so many as this is how pretty much everything gets to market.
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #100
122. Ordinary people are often very insightful.
Like everybody else, we feel HELPLESS to really change anything. We voted for change, we get more wars, for instance.
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mckara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
104. Sing Along with Me!
Keep your sunny side up, up!
Hide the side that gets blue.
If you have nine sons in a row,
Baseball teams make money, you know!
Keep your funny side up, up!
Let your laughter come thru, do!
Stand upon your legs, be like two fried eggs,
Keep your sunny side up!
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DeSwiss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:55 PM
Response to Original message
113. "Alex, what is: Throw the rich in prison and worldwide debt forgiveness?" - K&R n/t
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axollot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
114. Truth is we are in the beginning of the second great depression -
regardless of how we bailed out the banks to supposedly stop it, it's happening now. People in your position see it. I see it from conversations I have with local folks, some homeless, some just my neighbors who used to consider themselves conservatives and are voting Dem now because they know what the CONS are doing, have been and will continue to do.

Found out I was to be a grandmother the other day - and I cried because of the world we are in. My youngest is 7 and eldest 22. The only thing we have on our side is dual nationality w/Australia.

Cheers
Sandy
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
119. Interesting observations. Recommended. nt
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Mimosa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
120. Excellent OP, sad but warm and human.
Thank you, MadHound. *hug*
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PuffedMica Donating Member (584 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
124. K&R
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Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:32 PM
Response to Original message
126. Time to start prosecuting the Fortune 500 criminal executive scumfucks!
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sarcasmo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
128. Ex trucker here, with all the pumps a normal truck stop has aren't most of them prepay?
I am sure you have learned about the lot lizards.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
129. You should start taking pictures.
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Faygo Kid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-26-11 07:24 PM
Response to Original message
131. Wow. What a perspective. Keep it up and you're a good writer; keep a diary and submit to magazines
The look in their eyes, the food they order, what they wear, when they sigh, what makes them laugh, what they worry about, what they hope for - you have a unique opportunity here, and are obviously a skilled writer. Go for it.
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