The NYT had an interesting piece comparing the situation of a truck driver who lives in Mexico and gets paid to carry goods just over the border into Texas and a driver in Texas who transports goods across the country. The US-based driver (who was born in Mexico) earns far more than his Mexican counterpart.

The piece highlights restrictions that severely limit the ability of Mexican truck drivers to transport goods beyond the immediate border area. It reports that Mexico has been pushing to ease these restrictions, while the Teamsters have pushed to leave them in place or even tightened.

It suggests that there is not much at stake in this battle since the Mexican drivers are not allowed to carry goods back from their destination. The prospect of returning with an empty truck would make it uneconomical for most trips even if the Mexican drivers were paid far less than their U.S. counterparts.

This discussion misses the point. If the restrictions on Mexican drivers transporting goods in the United States were eased, then it is virtually inevitable that the NYT and other major news outlets would soon be running pieces on the fact that it is wasteful to prohibit them from picking up goods in the U.S. and instead come back with empty trucks. The likely result would be that this restriction would be removed as well.

The Teamsters understand this logic, which is why they are opposed to a relaxation of restrictions on Mexican drivers transporting goods into the United States. For some reason, the NYT and other major news outlets are far more concerned about the restrictions that protect truck drivers than the far more costly barriers that protect doctors, dentists, and other highly paid professionals from foreign competition.