In the world of work, what two occupations might seem to have the very least in common? Consider long-haul truck drivers and school librarians — an odd pairing, yes. But the two have more in common than you might think.

Start with truckers.

The job is literally a grueling haul. You’re wrangling massive 18-wheelers some 500 miles a day for two or three weeks straight. You’re putting up with traffic jams, storms, bad roads, lunatic drivers, helter-skelter scheduling, truck stop food, sleeping in the truck — all while battling fatigue, aches, your bladder, and loneliness.

Trucking used to be a good union job, with decent pay and conditions — until the deregulation craze four decades ago brought in Wall Street profiteers and fast buck hustlers who turned the industry into anti-union exploiters.

As a result, the yearly quit-rate for drivers is now almost 100 percent.

But rather than retaining drivers by upping pay and stopping their torturous treatment, the corporate bosses have rushed to Washington demanding access to an even cheaper pool of low-wage workers: teenagers.

Yes — put an 18-year-old in that 18-wheeler, and keep those profits rolling!

And here’s another good job that suddenly turned ugly: school librarian.

Yes, while student enrollments rise and the need for these nurturers of our society’s literacy is greater than ever, their quit-rate is also soaring. Not because of pay or long hours, but because of raw right-wing politics.

These dedicated, invaluable educators are being abused by demagogic GOP politicians and their extremist partisans who’ve launched an anti-librarian crusade, including book banning and witch hunting.

Come on — how twisted are you to pick on librarians? Yet, they’re being attacked by political hacks, condemned by reprobate preachers, physically threatened by frenzied parents, and fired by wimpy school boards.

Forget the “law” of supply and demand. Today’s job market is being ruled by greed meisters and political lunatics.

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Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. This op-ed was distributed by OtherWords.org.

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