The afscme, a service employee public union, has released some short videos featuring people who have worked in Mitt Romney’s upscale San Diego neighborhood.
Richard Hayes is a garbage man whose route includes La Jolla, the ritzy suburb where Mitt and Ann have a home. In the video clip, Mr. Hayes says that many times citizens will come out to give them hugs and Gatorade, to thank them for the job that they’re doing. He also says that he picks up 15 to 16 tons of garbage by hand.
Red light! Red light!
I live in San Diego. I haven’t seen a garbage man get out of the truck for residential trash pickup in years; possibly decades. It’s one of those things I’ve thought about that my kids might never see, like phones with cords or cassette tapes.
San Diego issues every single-family residence an approved trash receptacle. The garbage goes in, and on trash day, someone has to pull it out to the curb. The trash men cometh on your assigned day, in their air-conditioned trucks, and they stop next to the can. Then a robotic arm shoots out, grabs the thing, and dumps it into the back of the truck.
It’s not exactly the hard physical labor it once was, and certainly nothing is done by hand.
Mr. Hayes says that when he’s 55, 60 years old, his body is going to be broken down. Broken down from what? A sore finger from pushing the button to make the robot arm pick up the trash?
Just in case you didn’t know, San Diego has some of the most insane employment and retirement benefits. You can read about them here. So this guy is going to drive around in a truck until his mid-fifties, then basically retire on a full pension complete with healthcare, and thanks to the way the system is set up, he can even double dip by getting another job with the city. After all, who retires at 55?
This guy has a cushy job, and it’s on my dime. I’m paying taxes so this guy can retire at 55 while I have to continue to work, because in the private sector, no one is offering me an insane pension that will pay out even more than I made when I was actually working.
Mr. Hayes, I’m so sorry that Mitt Romney didn’t come out to give you a hug for pushing the trash button on your truck’s instrument panel. This is what we like to call a first world problem.
Endnote: When Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts, he spent a day a week doing odd jobs that everyday Americans do, in order to gain appreciation and understanding for what various people do in their day-to-day lives. This excerpt is from his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness:
“One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did…”