That Time Government Destroyed the Supply Chain
Joe Biden touts his work to “fix” things, but his policies are doing just the opposite.
“All right,” began Joe Biden yesterday. “If I can get my pages unstuck here, we’re ready. I’m going to take my mask off when I speak here.” It is with such confident leadership that the president launched remarks about his plan to fix the nation’s supply chain in time for Christmas. Teasing aside, the supply chain is a problem, but a man who’s occupied Washington, DC, for 50 years and knows only of swampy ideas for the economy is not the man to fix it.
Part of the modern American presidency is theater to show what great effects policies are having. Yesterday was no different, as Biden was flanked by Food Lion president Meg Ham (a delightful name for the head of a grocery chain) and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, who both praised the president for, as the White House headline put it, “His Administration’s Work to Move Goods to Shelves.”
Biden introduced them by saying, “I want to hear your ideas on how the federal government can continue partnering with you all to keep shelves stocked so American consumers can get what they need.”
Translation: Tell me what a great job I’m doing.
The federal government can get out of the way. State governments can get out of the way. The free market will figure out how to get goods on shelves without government “help” because, well, selling stuff is the whole point of the market.
Instead, governments at various levels completely upended the economy last year in response to a virus. Yes, that virus has been deadly — more than 777,000 Americans have died of or with COVID. But the vast majority of people are at far less risk. After all, there have been 48.1 million documented COVID cases in the U.S. How many more were so mild as to not even be confirmed?
Hindsight is 20/20, but the better response in March last year would have been to more selectively protect at-risk individuals while allowing the economy to continue operating as normally as possible. With few exceptions, that is not what government officials did.
Government policy knee-capped a roaring economy. One-size-fits-all lockdowns cost tens of millions of Americans their jobs. Biden disingenuously boasted yesterday that “4.5 million more Americans than last year had the dignity of a job.” That is some serious cherry-picking worthy of a “fact-check” smackdown that the Leftmedia will never bring. The truth is that, compared to February 2020, there are nearly five million fewer Americans with the dignity of a job. According to National Review, “The labor-force participation rate was 61.6 percent in October, down from 63.3 percent in February 2020.” Government did that.
So when CEOs of giant companies show up to glad-hand with the president over all the supposedly fabulous work he’s doing on supply chains, just remember that it was government policies that broke the supply chain in the first place.
Here were are, at the end of November 2021, dealing with the consequences of decisions made in March 2020. The employment picture has completely changed, because people were either laid off or began working from home. Millions still work from home or don’t work at all because they’ve been paid more to not work. Job hopping is a prevalent phenomenon — August and September saw some nine million people quit their jobs, presumably to take something else. Biden’s vaccine mandates are part of that equation. That’s an awful lot of economic upheaval.
Ham said herself that the upheaval extended to “how customers do their grocery shopping and what customers are buying when they do do their grocery shopping.” Not just groceries, but everything. How many fast food restaurants near you don’t allow dine-in because they don’t have enough workers? How many retail stores still have “Help Wanted” signs up? How many small businesses are operating shorter hours because they can’t compete with huge retailers offering big signing bonuses?
We haven’t even hit all those container ships sitting in the Pacific Ocean waiting for union workers to unload them. When they’re unloaded, there are too few truckers to drive those goods where they need to go.
The market needs time now to sort out all the changes brought about by government policies. It will, but it’ll take a lot longer if Biden keeps meddling with more government policies.
Just yesterday, in fact, Biden’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regional director Lisa Y. Henderson ordered a new election at a Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon facility, despite workers there overwhelmingly rejecting unionization back in April by a 71-29 margin. Henderson’s rationale was based entirely upon the unbelievably flimsy excuse that local Amazon managers installed a new mailbox before the election. The real reason is that the union wants to keep voting until it wins.
But you can depend on Joe Biden to “fix” the economy.
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