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Buttigieg: The Weak Link In The Supply Chain

The only thing more laughable than Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s claim that spending two months on paternity leave counts as “work” is that the massive infrastructure bill in Congress would do anything to fix the supply chain crisis.

When asked on CNBC why the administration waited so long to take action, Buttigieg responded that “we’ve been working this issue from day one”.

Well, not exactly.

As Politico reported, Buttigieg was “mostly offline” starting in mid-August, and only went on a media blitz after Politico disclosed the fact that he’d been on an unannounced leave.

It’s true that Biden issued a supply chain executive order in early February, saying that “we’re not going to wait for a review to be completed before we start closing the existing gaps.”

In June, Biden announced the creation of a new Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force with Buttigieg one of the key members. The next month, Buttigieg said, he’d “convened the entire ecosystem of supply chain actors.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki, in an attempt to defend the administration’s response, told reporters that “we’ve not only been talking about this since January, we’ve been working to put in place a range of steps to help address the challenges in the supply chains.”

In August, just as Buttigieg was clearing out for the next two months, Vice President Kamala Harris was warning that “if you want to have Christmas toys for your children, it might be the time to start buying them because the delay may be many, many months.”

So Buttigieg’s absence during this was inexcusable. And other than acknowledging that the supply chain crisis existed, it’s hard to see what “work” anyone in the Biden administration was actually doing.

It’s possible, in fact, that Biden’s vague executive order contributed to supply chain problems. Jennifer Bisceglie, CEO of Interos, a supply chain monitoring and modeling company, told FreightWaves that “what normally happens in these cases is a slowdown in terms of executing a business strategy, because companies don’t know if that strategy will shift or change depending on the impact” of such a review.

Biden’s “rescue” plan likely contributed as well by fueling worker shortages across the country. The disruptions caused by his vaccine mandate haven’t helped. Nor has the sharp rise in transportation costs thanks to Bidenflation.

The one concrete step the administration has taken – keeping the Port of Los Angeles open 24/7 – isn’t likely to be the “game changer” Biden thinks.

As Jennifer Van Laar explains in RedState, “simply expanding port hours wouldn’t get goods to market faster because unless distribution centers/warehouses are also open 24/7, truckers won’t want to pick up loads during off-hours.”

Worse, Biden is now blaming the private sector for the supply chain problems – telling businesses they need to “step up” – and promising more government intervention. “One of the reasons why I think it’s very important that we get the – the infrastructure plan passed – my infrastructure plan – and that’s the supply chain system is almost entirely in the hands of private business,” he said.

Buttigieg says that the crisis is an argument for “why we urgently need to pass the infrastructure vision that the president has laid out,” because “it includes $17 billion to support our ports, and we’re seeing just how important that part of our supply chain is.”

While that $17 billion might seem like a lot, consider the context. The bill Buttigieg is talking about carries a price tag of $550 billion in new spending over the next decade – so, we’re talking about 3% of that money going to ports. And only $9 billion of that would go toward modernization and construction, according to a breakdown by MarketWatch.

That’s well below the $25 billion American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed over the next decade to close what it calls the “funding gap” for ports and inland waterways.

By way of comparison, Biden’s infrastructure plan would dump $39 billion on public transportation,  $15 billion to subsidize electric cars, $65 billion to subsidize broadband, and $21 billion on “environmental remediation.”

So, the idea that this will have any meaningful impact on supply chains now or in the future is fatuous.

All this causes us to wonder what would be happening today if we had someone with actual business experience making decisions in Washington.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Pete won’t gave consequences for destroying tje supply chain just like Harris has no consequences for the border disaster. This is for 2 reason: Democrats get a free pass (as a rule) and Pete and Kamala were supposed to fail at these jobs. All part of the plan…

  • Seems like showing up for work is just optional for members of this administration. Give me a mean tweet again any day!

  • California forbids the operation of trucks older than 3 years, for pollution control. California’s AB5 also makes it almost impossible for independent contractors, like truck owner operators, to make a living.

    Why doesn’t the Biden Administration ask Newsom to suspend these laws until the ports are cleared? Politics are more important than transportation.

    There are reports of California legal trucks shuttling between the ports and the California State line, where containers are shifted to out-of-state trucks. There are also reports of containers being shipped out of state to be picked up by trucks. Neither solution works for containers destined for California.

    • As I understand it, the same language from AB5 is also in the fool’s “Build Back Better” malarkey…so it would appear they are all in favor of it.

  • The global supply chain is a mess. What follows has sources from all of these “news” outlets all warning about this:

    New York Times
    The Atlantic
    The Epoch Times
    Washington Post
    Zero Hedge

    This took hours to make and is geared toward waking people up to the coming reality of empty supermarkets by utilizing sources from every major news outlet—all warning about the same thing: the world-wide supply chain is on the verge of collapsing.

    Please share to get the word out so people can prepare.

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