WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 21 — Remember how tough it was to find toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic? Get ready for another lack of consumer goods in your local stores and for the fact that the stuff that’s on the shelf will cost more in the coming months. But this time, it’s not due to a predatory virus; it’s due to a supply chain disruption, an accelerating rate of inflation, and the ineptitude of the administration that took office less than a year ago.
A year ago, the rate of inflation was at a tolerable 1.2%. It started to spike soon after Mr. Biden took office in January, and it has been increasing at a rapid rate ever since, causing intolerably increasing prices for consumer goods. Gasoline, for example, is at $5.00 a gallon in some parts of the country. While $4.69 might seem steep in Fresno, other gas stations within California have marked prices up to $6.29. The lowest price for gas in California has been recorded at $3.75, according to a Fox News report
What causes inflation? There are a lot of reasons inflation increases suddenly and at such furious rates; among them are things such as increased demand for goods and services and, of course, government policies.
For example, Rachel Greszler, a Research Fellow in Economics, says that in a recent article published by the Heritage Foundation, for those who think inflation rates can’t get any higher, there’s a lesson to be learned about what happened in the 1970s when inflation reached as high as 11.04% due to excessive government spending. Perhaps the cause in 2021 is that the Biden administration is seeking approval of massive spending plans that total more than$ 4.6 trillion. On top of that, they want to increase the debt ceiling.
Senator Rick Scott [R-FL] says that it will result in making it harder and harder to make ends meet. “Families are struggling to put food on the table, put gas in their cars and buy everyday goods each week. Each month we have seen prices go up hurting more and more families in Florida and across the nation. How do Democrats respond? By arguing to push the debt ceiling to unimaginable levels so they can ram through more reckless spending that will only further fuel Biden’s raging inflation crisis,” he says.
Combine the results of higher rates of inflation with the nation’s supply chain crisis, and you have a recipe for a worrisome near-term dilemma for shoppers going forward right through the upcoming holiday season and beyond 2022. At least, as far as the breakdown of the supply chain is concerned, Mr. Biden can’t be blamed for causing it. But there are things the government can do to offset its consequences.
One way to get “goods moving would be to temporarily authorize a modified Hours of Service rule, using the “adverse driving condition” clause to justify temporarily raising the maximum driving time from 11 to 13 hours,” according to the Consumer Goods Association.
The CGA also recommends the creation of “a White House Office of SupplyChain that might “coordinate across multiple agencies that impact supply chains and make comprehensive, holistic policy recommendations. The current, fragmented approach creates unnecessary barriers to cooperation.”
And so, in June, the president created the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, which was intended to “bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches.” the White House said.
He put Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in charge. And Buttigieg started his new assignment by using the occasion to talk up the reasons why his boss was not responsible for the crisis. In fact, he tried to spin the crisis by implying that the crisis might not be so bad, declaring that “Demand is up because income is up because the president has successfully guided this economy out of the teeth of a terrifying recession.”
Buttigieg was Mayor of South Bend, IN, and, among his accomplishments, during his tenure, he installed river lights under a bridge in town as a sign of the city’s resurgence. So when he boasted that the supply chain crisis was the result of bettering the lives of Americans, it triggered a plethora of “boos” from the likes of retired Senator Orrin Hatch who twittered: “The boy mayor (who the President previously mocked for having no greater experience than installing colored lights under bridges) either don’t understand basic economics or just simply hopes people are stupid enough to believe this.”
To make matters worse, not long after taking on the leadership of the Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force, he disappeared for a four-week paternity leave — in the midst of the supply chain crisis. Whether it was a dereliction of duty or not, there are those that said it was an unprofessional thing to do when your job involves dealing with a crisis.
How much pain will the one-two punch of inflation and supply shortages cause American consumers? John Catsimatidis, president of the Gristedes and D’Agostino Food supermarket chains, says, “I see food prices going up tremendously. [CEOs] want to be ahead of the curve and the way they’re doing it is they’re dropping all promotions. They are dropping low-moving items.” He went on to tell Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business: “I see over 10% [price increase] in the next 60 days”. Procter & Gamble’s CFO Andre Schulten, too, said his company is raising prices on “a number of household staple goods.”
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