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January 13, 2022

Supply Chained

After Biden “fixed it,” there are still record numbers of cargo ships waiting at sea, creating empty store shelves.

Have you had trouble finding items at the store that you normally expected would be in stock? Have you been told on further inquiry from store personnel — if you can find anyone — that there is no concrete answer as to when those items would be available?

Welcome to 2021 2022. But don’t blame this entirely on Omicron. Yes, the latest vaccine-impervious variant of the China Virus is taking its toll among the working populace, and there are large numbers of people out of work due to illness or exposure. But a vast majority of these people will be back to work soon. The real reason for the inability to keep American grocery and consumer goods stocked is because of our broken supply chain. And that is an issue going back many months.

But wait. Joe Biden solved the nation’s supply chain problem at the end of 2021. He said so. And since all the discussion around the issue was focused on whether holiday gifts would arrive on time, we were led by our president and his media parrots to believe that after Christmas, the supply chain bottleneck was broken. Back to business as usual.

Well, guess what? Not only were we lied to about the state of the supply chain, but the country is now facing exactly the problem we most feared back in September. Last week, there were 105 ships waiting for Los Angeles or Long Beach berths. That is the largest shipping traffic jam the West Coast has ever seen, and it’s happening at a time of year no one would ever expect such problems.

Only a small number of these ships are within 40 miles of port. The rest are scattered all over the world, waiting for their number to be called. It is certainly better to have all these ships disbursed. The ecological impact is minimized, except down near the Baja peninsula, where many of them are congregating. The negative impact on the Biden administration might be minimized as well, since there is less opportunity for a photo op of the flotilla of cargo ships waiting to come into port.

Biden wants the public to believe that 2021 was an economic success story. But it wasn’t by any measure. There is a flotilla of cargo ships waiting to unload into ports with unreasonably strict union-set hours, where those containers sit waiting for overland shippers to arrive, which can be unpredictable since drivers and loaders are hard to find, thanks to the federal government’s foolhardy intervention into the labor market.

The extensive media coverage of empty store shelves around the country is a big story. And there’s perhaps no better metaphor for Biden’s presidency so far.

The president tried to pass off 2021 as an economic success, claiming huge numbers of jobs created and large wage gains in the hospitality and retails sectors, outpacing all other industries. We noted last week that the latter is not something to brag about. People in low-wage job sectors are leaving their jobs because the only way to gain wage parity in an inflationary economy is to change jobs.

As for the former, record numbers of jobs created need to be seen in perspective. According to the Biden fanboys at The Washington Post, “Relative to the size of the workforce, it’s only the 11th best calendar year since record-keeping began in 1939.” And here’s the kicker: “The economy lost 22.4 million jobs at the height of the coronavirus lockdowns. When you account for the 12.3 million jobs regained in 2020 as businesses reopened, plus the 6.4 million added in 2021, the economy is still missing 3.6 million jobs.” Even that would only get us back to where we were two years ago; it would not put us where population growth and other factors demand we be. Hence, millions of job openings and empty store shelves.

We can do better, much better. But we’re going to need different leadership.

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