Bloomberg doesn't seem quite as scared as the Washington Post, which worries that if truckers earn $60,000 a year it would sink the economy. But it also seems really disturbed that employers can't get more drivers without paying them more. This one is, in some ways, even more over the top than the Post piece. It wants to blame the government.
The story here is that there are restrictions on hours, which used to be tracked using paper records but now are verified electronically. This makes cheating more difficult.
"Under the old regime, a driver making 40 cents a mile might drive 750 miles in 15 hours, averaging 50 miles an hour and making $300. His paperwork would claim 11 hours at 68 mph. Now, however, his time is electronically tracked and the 11-hour limit is strictly enforced. At 50 mph, he makes only $220."
So, in the good old days, a driver putting in 15 hours a day pulled down $300, or $20 an hour. If we converted this into an hourly wage, with a 50 percent overtime premium after 8 hours, this comes to $16.21 an hour. In this story, the hourly pay actually rises somewhat to $22 an hour because of the evil regulations, but because the worker is putting in 27 percent fewer hours, her daily pay falls.
In any case, it is striking that no one seems to think that higher pay might be a good way to solve this shortage. I guess no one believes in market solutions at Bloomberg.