This is serious, ladies and gentlemen. Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigoso just signed into law what purports to be a plan to clean up Los Angeles air. But look closer. It is in fact a plan to promote the Teamsters Union. It's the kind of corruption that will make your head spin. It makes me dizzy just thinking about it.
Under the plan, "exhaust-spewing diesel trucks" (i.e. almost all trucks) will be banned from carrying cargo from the Port of Los Angeles. That puts large numbers of independent truckers, who have made huge investments in their trucks, up the proverbial creek. The plan therefore subsidizes new trucks and requires these independent truckers to become employees of the major trucking companies (rather than simply independent contractors), supposedly because these trucking companies can better afford to purchase and maintain the newer, cleaner trucks. Independent contractors would thereafter be banned. As the Los Angeles Times reports, "Both Villaraigosa and port authorities argue that independent, low-income drivers will not be able to afford the new $100,000 trucks that meet the port's strict low-emissions requirements."
The driving force behind this travesty is that well-know friend of the environment the Teamsters Union. They have (probably correctly) concluded that this is the most effective way to promote the unionization of the trucking industry in California. Trucking companies here in California frequently use independent truckers as independent contractors. The notion that the Teamsters Union is motivated by a desire to clean Los Angeles air is laughable.
Chester Finn had an article in Friday's Wall Street Journal entitled "The Self-Inflicted Economic Death of Ohio." You may think that such a thing can't happen in California, but it can. If a thriving competitive industry can be captured by the Teamsters Union this easily, California can become the New Rust Belt in less time than you'd think. Packaging all this as "green" was obviously key. Even the most brazen corruption passes as public spiritedness these days if it's presented as pro-environment.