Supply Chain Bottleneck: Snarled

The Flag Staff Contributor
Supply Chain Bottleneck: Snarled
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Supply Chain Bottleneck: Labor shortages and supply chain bottlenecks are complicating the lead up into the holiday shopping season. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter

Top Story: Supply Chain Bottleneck

As supply chain bottlenecks around the world threaten to hobble the US holiday shopping season, President Joe Biden unveiled a plan Wednesday to try to ease West Coast delays at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles by expanding round-the-clock operations, Christina Wilkie reports for CNBC. “FedEx, UPS, Walmart, and Home Depot announced their expanded-hours operation plans during the virtual meeting with Biden. As of October 7, there were roughly 60 container ships waiting in open water outside the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. Combined, these two entryways handle approximately 40% of the shipping containers entering the United States.” Here’s what both sides are saying about the snarled supply chains.

On The Left

Left-leaning commentators blame supply-chain issues on the labor shortage. In order to permanently fix the problem, they believe stakeholders need to think about systemic policy changes like higher minimum wage and placing more power in the hands of workers.

“The Supply-Chain Mystery” Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker: “What’s often at the heart of a supply-chain issue is a labor issue.” In Los Angeles and Long Beach, “There aren’t enough dockworkers to unload cargo, or truck drivers to move it out of the ports. … The question of how to solve the labor issue can’t be answered without an examination of values and priorities. Would it be better to persuade people to fill jobs by further cutting unemployment benefits, or by raising the federal minimum wage … What about adding support for child care, paid family leave, and public transportation—measures being debated in Congress now—or increasing immigration? … In both cases, the scramble for quick fixes … can distract from the need for systemic change. The real challenge, when it comes to thinking about supply chains, isn’t making sure that a container ship is unloaded. It’s deciding how we want to live.”

“America faces supply-chain disruption and shortages. Here’s why” Matt Stoller, The Guardian: “What we’re experiencing is the net result of decades of policy choices starting in the 1970s that emphasized consumer sovereignty over citizenship. The consolidation of power into the hands of private equity financiers and monopolists over the last four decades has left us uniquely unprepared to manage a supply shock. … The specific policies that led to our supply-constrained world are lax antitrust, deregulation of basic infrastructure industries like shipping, railroads, and trucking, disinvestment in domestic production, and trade policy emphasizing finance over manufacturing. … Fundamentally, America has to move away from the goal of seeking cheap stuff made abroad for consumers in a low-wage economy. That means rearranging our hierarchies of power so finance, consulting, and capital-light tech leaders became less important than people who know how to make things.”

“The global supply chain nightmare is about to get worse” Matt Egan, CNN Business: “Unfortunately, Moody’s says supply chain disruptions ‘will get worse before they get better.'” Here’s why: “Border controls and mobility restrictions, unavailability of a global vaccine pass, and pent-up demand from being stuck at home have combined for a perfect storm where global production will be hampered because deliveries are not made in time, costs and prices will rise … Moody’s said the ‘weakest link’ may be the shortage of truck drivers … [Also, the] firm pointed to differences in how countries are fighting COVID, [which] presents a serious challenge to harmonizing the rules and regulations by which transport workers move in and out of ports and hubs around the world.’ [Moreover,] Moody’s cited the lack of a ‘concerted global effort to ensure the smooth operation’ of the worldwide logistics and transportation network.”

On The Right

Right-leaning outlets also believe labor shortages are compounding the supply chain issue. With that said, they believe the worker deficit is related to big government policies like enhanced federal unemployment benefits that disincentivize people to work.

“A supply chain bottleneck” Editorial Board, Washington Times: “The Biden administration is clueless when it comes to economics 101 and playing down the severity of this supply chain catastrophe. They’ve called inflation ‘transitory,’ even as it’s been running at a 30-year high for months. … Mr. Biden is desperately trying to sell his ‘Build Back Better’ economic agenda, proposing $3.5 trillion in government spending on cradle to grave entitlements, which will only entice more to stay out of the labor market. It will be paid for by taxing businesses, which are already feeling the pinch of supply chain bottlenecks. … Several studies have shown that consumers bear about 31% of the cost of corporate tax increases through higher prices on consumer products. Trillions in new spending are not the fix our economy needs right now – it’s just a recipe for even more inflation and higher prices. [It’s] build back broke.”

“Amateur hour: Pete Buttigieg’s inexperience exposed as supply chain breaks down” Joe Concha, The Hill: “Almost all outlets are focusing on Pete Buttigieg’s foray into fatherhood and not on the one major issue he’s in charge of fixing as cargo ships continue to pile up off the coast of America’s port cities.” In an interview with Bloomberg, “He warned that the ‘challenges’ will continue, possibly for years, before pitching President Biden’s stalled $3.5 infrastructure plan … It’s reminiscent of Vice President Kamala Harris attempting to tackle the border catastrophe. … Buttigieg is beloved by many in the American press because he checks off many boxes in the sizzle department. But chief among them is not his experience with supply chains, small business, Big Labor, or transportation. Mayor Pete may be a presidential candidate again one day. That is if he somehow navigates a crisis in which he’s clearly in over his head.”

“This is a tax you pay for Biden and Dems’ reckless spending” New York Post, Editorial Board: “The COVID-19 pandemic did a number on supply chains around the world. … But President Biden and Democrats have exacerbated the problem. They extended unemployment bonuses for months, keeping millions out of the workforce and flooding the economy with cash. Eight million are out of work, even as there are 10 million job openings. … Now is the time for the government to step back and let the economy find normalcy again. … Except that’s not what Biden is doing. He wants to spend another $5 trillion, as if the economic laws of inflation don’t exist anymore. … Biden likes to argue that the tax increases to pay for all this spending will hit only the rich. But inflation is a tax, a merciless one that’s already hitting Americans hard.”

Flag This: Supply Chain Bottleneck

According to Gallup, “Sixty percent of US adults say they have been unable to get a product they wanted in the past two months because of shortages, and 57% have experienced significant delays in receiving a product they ordered,” Lydia Saad reports. “Seven in 10 Americans overall have had at least one of these issues, while 46% have had both.”

“The same poll finds that 83% of adults have experienced ‘significant price increases’ in the past two months, another byproduct of the COVID-19 related economic disruptions to manufacturing, shipping, and labor supply.” According to data published by the Labor Department on Wednesday, the consumer price index rose 5.4% year over year in September, matching the July reading for the hottest print since 2008.

Flag Poll: Supply Chain Bottleneck

In the past two months, have you experienced price increases and/or wait times when looking to buy certain products? Comment below to share your thoughts.

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1 month ago

IN my part of the country supply issues have been a problem for well over a year now. Grocery stores are wiped out of meat and other supplies. Walmart can’t find enough help to keep the shelves stocked. My own employer has had two jobs open starting at well over the democrats $15 mark for months with no one interested in going to work. You have the highest paid manual laborers, dock workers and the left claims we need to pay them even more? What we need is to get rid of the failed leadership! “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” ~ John F. Kennedy

1 month ago

I’ve seen a steady climbing increase in prices since the start of the Pandemic but it’s accelerated thru this year quite a bit. Our gasprices here in PA is horrid and our pipeline jobs destroyed. Our last fuel refill (propane) was a bit higher than usual. Obviously the spending of the new administration is exacerbating the issue by pushing the economy into inflation to the point that the average citizen worries about hyper-inflation. We effectively are experiencing negative interest rates. I’ve not seen any issues with supply that didn’t ease up – possibly because when WalMart no longer carries my item, I go elsewhere and use the internet to compare prices. I do feel deliveries have not been as quick though but nothing I can’t deal with. Initially many companies offered more free deliveries but since then have snuck in hidden costs to add to the prices and discount clubs offering free delivery are adding more and more items to their list that will charge for delivery and you have to really be careful when ordering.

1 month ago

Shortages everywhere! Gas prices up over a $1 a gallon. Borders that are like sieves. Americans abandoned in Afghanistan. Businesses closing. The Binden administration has failed. I frankly don’t think they should receive another dime in additional spending until they fix the mess they have created. And absolutely no cradle to grave spending. That is not the governments job.

1 month ago

Yes on both and the full blame goes to the Biden administration.

Thomas Bender
1 month ago

Like the other commenters I see issues primarily in the grocery store and at the pump. We have had similar issues, including horrible inflation. The difference was that at those times leaders emerged that took decisive action, not without some short term pain. Now in my view, the current group of “leaders” are clueless and all too ready to blame the first person or group or Trump they see.

David Wysocki
1 month ago

Grocery prices are going up, the price of gas is going through the roof people and we all have to start tightening our belts, except if your President Biden who is totally clueless about what is going on! This man will certainly make us a laughing stock!