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Trucking on, 60 hours a week, for 10 more years

Kai Ryssdal Nov 5, 2014
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Trucking on, 60 hours a week, for 10 more years

Kai Ryssdal Nov 5, 2014
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If you talk to people outside the Washington Beltway, the view of life and the economy is pretty starkly different. 

 

Where economic messages were largely left out of midterm campaigns, the idea that we’re growing our way into recovery doesn’t resonate with a lot of Americans. 

 

“That’s all on Wall Street. If you’ve got lots of money, you’re doing fine. It’s just us who are not,” said Don Holzshuh. He drives a truck in the upper Midwest, delivering to hardware stories in Iowa and Minnesota. 

 

And, he says, the folks in the hardware stores agree. Things feel “pretty much the same” as they did 18 months ago. 

 

For Holzschuh personally, business is a little worse. What he used to earn in four-and-a-half days now takes six. He’s added another run in his truck, bringing him to 60 hours a week on the road. Lower gas prices help with costs, but Holzschuh says the price of diesel along his route in Iowa is higher by about a dollar more a gallon compared with unleaded. He doesn’t benefit much from the savings. 

 

“I’ll probably be working til I’m 68… another 10 years, another million miles.”

 

It’s hard to imagine him continuing at 60 hours per week after 36 years on the road. Holzschuh has already clocked 4.5 million miles accident-free, but he doesn’t see many alternatives. 

 

“Am I going to work at a gas station? Work three jobs in a gas station to get by?”

 

The extra years of work will go toward paying off the mortgage on his house. And if that doesn’t work? 

 

“I’ll be over at your house,” he joked to Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal. 

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