Inflation, Supply Chain, Labor Shortage: 'We're...Trying to Figure Out How to Tackle Them,' Biden Says

Susan Jones | November 11, 2021 | 5:49am EST
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President Joe Biden speaks at the Port of Baltimore in Maryland on November 10, 2021. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks at the Port of Baltimore in Maryland on November 10, 2021. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "Many people remain unsettled about the economy, and we all know why," President Joe Biden said during an appearance at the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday.

"They see higher prices. They go to the store online and they can't -- or they go to the store or go online, and they can't find what they always want and when they want it. And we're tracking these issues, trying to figure out how to tackle them head-on.

"My administration, with the help of the folks (longshoremen) on my left over here, is -- has a plan to finish the job of getting us back to normal from the pandemic and having a stronger economy than we ever had before."

In the course of his remarks, Biden acknowledged that because of him, "people have more money now," and that "creates a real problem" because with "more people with money buying product and less product to buy, what happens?...Prices go up," he said.

Biden was in Baltimore to sell his recently-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill -- along with his pending Build Back Better Act -- as the panacea for inflation, the supply chain, and even the labor shortage. He spoke on a day when inflation reached a 30-year high.

Biden said the bipartisan bill includes funding for five new inland ports in Georgia and North Carolina as well as money to improve the operation of other ports across the country.

"The challenge we need to meet here, and my plan is going to help address, has to do with the supply chain," he said. But improving port operations will take time.

Biden repeated something he's said before -- that the American people don't understand the supply chain logjam (although it's not that hard to figure out).

"You hear a lot about the supply chains in the news, but frankly, not a lot of people are clear -- have a clear understanding -- whether they have a Ph.D. here, they didn't go to school about how a supply chain works...let alone how to fix it. It's perfectly understandable because supply chains are incredibly complex."

He blamed the COVID pandemic for stretching global supply chains "like never before."

"And suddenly, when you go to order a pair of sneakers or a bicycle or Christmas presents for the family, you're met with higher prices and long delays."

Biden gave several examples of products that are produced with parts made in different countries, and the ripple effect that a factory closing in one place has on finishing and delivering the final product to another place.

And then Biden mentioned the relief payments and child tax credits -- for which he takes credit -- as being part of the problem:

If a climate disaster closed a port in China, it can delay shipment of furniture or clothing, reduce worldwide supply, and driving up prices here in America.

And the irony is, people have more money now. Because of the first piece of major legislation I passed -- they all got checks for $1,400, you got checks for a whole range of things.

If you're a mom and you have kids under the age of seven, you get $300 a month. And if it's over 7 to 17, you're getting $360 a month like wealthy people used to do when they get back tax returns. It changed people's lives. But -- what happens if there's nothing to buy? You got more money, you compete for getting it there -- it creates a real problem.

So, on the one hand, we're facing new disruptions to our supplies. At the same time, we're also experiencing higher demand for goods because wages are up, as well as people have money in the bank. And because of the strength of our economic recovery, American families have been able to buy more products.

And -- but guess what, they're not going out to dinner and lunch and going to local bars because of COVID. So, what are they doing? They're staying home, they're ordering online, and they're buying product. Well, with more people with money buying product and less product to buy, what happens?...Prices go up.

So, we got nearly 20 percent more goods coming into the country than we did before the pandemic struck. In 19 days -- excuse me, COVID-19 has changed the way we spend our time and our money. More products are being delivered than ever before.

That's because people have little more breathing room than they did last year, and that's a good thing. But it also means we got higher demand for goods at the same time we're facing disruptions in the supplies that make those goods. This is a recipe for delays and for higher prices, and people are feeling it. They're feeling it.

So, everything -- keep paying this much for a gallon of gas. In some parts of California, they're paying $4.50 a gallon. That's why it's so important that we do everything in our power to stabilize the supply chain...

Yet Biden wants to inject trillions upon trillions into the economy -- more money chasing more goods. He's now plugging part two of his "infrastructure" agenda, the Build Back Better Act, with all its new entitlement and spending programs.

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