There are many great moments in the history of statesmanship. Winston Churchill refusing to surrender to the Nazis and Ronald Regan telling the Soviets to “tear down this wall” immediately spring to mind…and now Joe Biden is seeking to join that list by blaming the supply bottlenecks at America’s ports on the private sector.
Well, maybe not the finest example. Biden is no Churchill or Reagan.
On Wednesday, Biden took to a White House podium to announce his grand plan for getting America’s ports to run efficiently again—and as expected, it wasn’t much of a plan.
The only significant announcement he made was to inform the American people that the Port of Los Angeles will be moving to 24/7 operations.
He then proceeded to blame private industry—already strapped with paying high union dues and suffering pandemic worker shortages— for the supply bottleneck that is slowing commerce nationwide.
Biden said, “We need major retailers who ordered the goods and the freight movers who take the goods from the ships to factories and to stores to step up as well…If the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act.”
Wow, way to be a leader, Joe!
Is it any wonder why his approval ratings are in the toilet?
Of course, all the blame can’t be laid at the feet of Joe Biden, but he hasn’t exactly helped matters either.
Writing for National Review, Dominic Pino outlined the basics of the port issues:
“The federal government could spend a quadrillion dollars on ports, and it wouldn’t change the contracts with longshoreman unions that prevent ports from operating 24/7 (as they do in Asia) and send labor costs through the roof… The pandemic merely immanentized a crisis that was long brewing. The problems we are now enduring won’t be solved by a pandemic-emergency stopgap measure. They require real changes to the way the industry works that will be difficult to design and implement and will encounter heavy resistance from interest groups that benefit from the status quo.”
Also writing for National Review, Jim Geraghty explained how issues in Asia are causing problems at American ports. Geraghty wrote, “Pent-up consumer demand is increasing rapidly, and suppliers are struggling to keep up. Chinese ports are closing because of COVID-19, and they’re also dealing with rolling power outages, and they’re dealing with typhoons on top of that. Vietnamese ports and factories are dealing with COVID-19-driven shutdowns and slowdowns as well. (It would also help if cargo ship captains stopped trying to parallel park in the middle of the Suez Canal.)”
Biden blaming the private transportation companies is asinine. It turns out that when you pay workers to stay home and discourage them from working, there won’t be enough workers to keep up with demand.
The cost of labor is high already in the industry due to generous union contracts that have longshoremen being paid as much as $171,000 per year, and up until this point, companies weren’t allowed to run operations 24/7.
So, although the crisis can’t be completely blamed on President Biden, he sure isn’t helping matters, and even worse, he is blaming the private companies for the catastrophe.
Joe Biden is no profile in courage.