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Obama’s Plan to Lose More American Jobs – Comes with a Price

The unemployment rate averages 9.1 percent in the United States today, it will likely increase because of Obama’s job crushing cross-border trucking deal with Mexico. Today, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes Dionisio Arturo Pèrez-Jàcome Friscione joined together in Mexico City to sign agreements resolving the dispute over long-haul, cross-border trucking services between the United States and Mexico.

The Obama administration is trying to sell this new plan to the American people as a safety oriented and job creating plan. But there is no proof provided of any safety improvements and it will COST American jobs, as well as American taxpayers money – we will be funding electronic on-board recorders (EOBR’s) for these Mexican trucks, so that they can be tracked while in the U.S.

An EOBR is an electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven. The driving hours of commercial drivers – truck and bus drivers – are regulated by a set of rules known as the hours-of-service(HOS). The HOS are rules intended to prevent driver fatigue, by limiting the amount of time drivers spend driving commercial vehicles. The EOBR cannot determine if the driver of the commercial vehicle is working other than driving, or if this driver is asleep or awake. It will not “automatically” do anything as the driver still must manually enter whether a change of duty status has occurred or not.

In 1995 the US and Mexico started a pilot program to allow Mexican trucks to travel throughout the US delivering loads brought in from Mexico. The U.S. trucks were allowed to do the same in Mexico, but environmental issues, safety and security concerns spurred the United States to bar Mexican trucks from being on U.S. roadways.

To date there has been no indication from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the Department of Transportation (DOT) or from Mexico that any of these environmental issues or safety and security concerns have been addressed. 16 years later the environmental issues and safety and security concerns still exist, but Obama agreed to allow the Mexican trucks back into the U.S. – but this time with a price tag that you and I are expected to pay. These Mexican trucks are to be fitted with Electronic on-board recorders (EOBR) that taxpayers in the U.S. have to pay for.

It is OUTRAGEOUS that we will be required to spend “our” tax dollars to pay for equipment on Mexican trucks; equipment which either the Mexican government or the Mexican carriers themselves should be required to pay for.

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) is fuming mad about the move made today by the U.S. government. “If the agreement is good for the U.S. why the hell is he (Secretary LaHood) sneaking down there to sign it?” said Jim Johnston, President of OOIDA. “So much for their supposed transparency. Why not let the public see the details before signing the agreement? Seems like the Administration is dead set on caving to Mexico’s shakedown regardless of the costs to the American public and our tax coffers.”

OOIDA has adamantly opposed opening the border because Mexico has failed to institute regulations and enforcement programs that are even remotely similar to those in the United States and because there would be no relevant corresponding reciprocity for U.S. truckers.

“People in Washington are constantly talking about two things these days ­­­­­­­­­­– creating good jobs for Americans and cutting wasteful spending. This program does exactly the opposite for both,” said Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of OOIDA. “This program will jeopardize the livelihoods of tens of thousands of U.S.-based small-business truckers and professional truck drivers and undermine the standard of living for the rest of the driver community.”

As far as reciprocal access to the Mexican market, OOIDA knows that most truckers refuse to haul loads into Mexico because of safety concerns, noting that the Department of State issues warnings against doing so on a regular basis. OOIDA remains unconvinced that U.S. taxpayers will benefit from supposed efficiencies that proponents of the Obama-Calderon agreement are suggesting will accompany the new program.

A report issued by the Congressional Research Service in February of 2010 stated:

“The rationale of eliminating the truck drayage segment at the border, and of NAFTA in general, is to reduce the cost of trade between the two countries, thus raising each nation’s economic welfare However the cost to federal taxpayers of ensuring Mexican truck safety, estimated by the U.S. DOT to be over $500 million as of March 2008*, appears to be disproportionate to the amount of dollars saved thus far by U.S. importers or exporters that have been able to utilize long-haul trucking authority. . . . Any accumulated savings in trucking costs enjoyed by shippers therefore should be weighed against the public cost of funding the safety inspection regime for Mexican long-haul carriers.”

Adding insult to injury is the fact that U.S. taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the program including the purchase and installation of electronic monitoring devices for Mexican trucking companies participating in the program. Funding for those devices will come from taxes paid by U.S. truckers and citizens into the Highway Trust Fund, a fund that already is teetering on insolvency.

“How many more taxpayer dollars should we spend on efforts that at best won’t help us and in all likelihood will actually hurt us?”

The bottom line here is that now in this disastrous economic time we are experiencing in the U.S., with 14 million Americans are unemployed and we all know how well Obama’s “other” job creating ideas have worked, now they go and do this. Not only will the roads in America (BTW are the safest they have ever been) become increasingly more dangerous by allowing these Mexican trucks to roam freely within the U.S. but more jobs will be lost.

Steve Russell, chief executive officer of Indianapolis-based Celadon Group Inc., which serves the U.S., Canada and Mexico said, “The theory behind cross-border trucking is that one tractor would replace three” in a recent article. I know my math is not perfect, but that looks like it will remove jobs from the trucking industry – not create any.

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