What do truckers think of trade?

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Ontario California truck stop. Photo by Saul Gonzalez

Whether or not you support the idea of free trade, the United States depends on it. So much of what you wear, eat and use everyday comes in on a shipping container and is then taken across the country on the back of a truck.

So what do the people who drive those trucks think of trade?

KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez headed to a truck stop in Ontario to find out.

Brian Spencer drives coast to coast. Photo by Saul Gonzalez
Brian Spencer drives coast to coast. “I don’t make any money unless the wheels are turning,” he says. Photo by Saul Gonzalez

I’m Brian Spencer, we run coast to coast normally come out of Rock Hills South Carolina and come into Ontario or Santa Fe, vice versa and back. Someone eats off this truck. What I do feeds families all across the country. How I make my living, how I pay my bills, take care of my family is from the simple source of our trade system. How things come and go. If nothing’s coming and going then I’m sitting still, I’m not making money.

Dennis Roach Photo by Saul Gonzalez
Dennis Roach has been driving since 1974. Photo by Saul Gonzalez

I’m Dennis Roach, I started in 1974. It stinks right now. Nobody’s spending money, freight’s not moving. We’ve got an election year. People don’t know what they’re gonna do, they’re scared to death of the politicians we got. Jobs are going to foreign countries, we’re shipping more products in from overseas. Everything that comes in the Port of LA you bring it in, break it down out of containers, put it on trucks and take it across the country. The cost of goods if produced in the US, they can beat us hands down with labor cost. I bet you go to anybody’s house and look in their closet and it says: Indonesia, China, Japan, Taiwan. Very few things are made in the USA.

Amos Swindle from Mississippi. Photo by Saul Gonzalez
Amos Swindle from Mississippi. Photo by Saul Gonzalez

I’m Amos Swindle. It’s not as good as it used to be, things are still moving. I think if we can do the trading and do it honestly, I don’t see no harm in it. I have delivered quite a bit of goods. I’m glad to have been a part of it. It’s not like it was when I was growing up, we grew most of what we ate, we never went hungry. Everything is moving too fast. The economy is right where the government wants it. As far as I’m concerned, Obama doesn’t care if we work or not, as far as I’m concerned he’d rather us be on a check. I like Trump, he tells it like it is, but I’m kind of skeptical, because he runs his mouth a little too much.

What do you think about trade? Share your thoughts on trade. And listen to To the Point here: