Biden offers sympathy and potential supply chain fixes as he has few real options to halt inflation

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  • As government economists work to tackle rising inflation and ease supply chain disruptions, President Biden is leaning on his natural ability to empathize with average Americans.
  • “Did you ever think you’d pay that much for a gallon of gas?” Biden asked the crowd during a speech in Baltimore on Wednesday.
  • Yet with few concrete options available to tackle inflation, the White House is focusing most of its energy on fixing delays at major ports and other tangible supply chain issues.

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As government economists work to find ways to tackle rising inflation and reduce supply chain disruptions, President Joe Biden is leaning on his ability to empathize with the economic fears of average Americans.

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“Did you ever think you’d pay that much for a gallon of gas?” Biden asked the crowd during a speech in Baltimore on Wednesday. “In some parts of California, they are paying $4.50 a gallon,” he said, unbelievably.

Officially, Biden’s speech was about how the Port of Baltimore would benefit from the infrastructure bill Biden plans to sign into law on Monday. Yet from the outset, it was clear that speech was about much more than cargo ships.

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“Today, I’m here to talk about one of the most pressing economic concerns of the American people … and that is the price drop, number one,” Biden said at the start of his speech. “Number two, making sure our stores are fully stocked. And number three, getting a lot of people back to work to figure out and tackle these two challenges.”

Inflation and supply chain issues have plagued the US economy for months, but new developments this week freshened Biden’s remarks.

The latest inflation data released on Wednesday morning showed prices last month rising at the fastest rate in more than 30 years, 6.2% compared to October 2020. The news sent shivering through Wall Street.

Inflation report released after new figures About Billions of Goods “Out of Stock” Online on Tuesday As consumers start shopping for the holidays.

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“Many people remain uncertain about the economy, and we all know why,” Biden said in Baltimore. “They see higher prices. They go to the store or go online, they don’t always get what they want, and when they want it. We’re monitoring these issues and trying to figure it out.” How to deal with them.”

One complaint of this one-two punch for consumers is that other economic metrics show the country in the midst of a stronger-than-expected recovery.

October job growth surpassed expectations of some 80,000 jobs, while unemployment fell to a post-pandemic 4.6%. Wages have risen 4.9% from a year ago.

But while economists see the recovery as strong, Biden warned Wednesday that it doesn’t seem so powerful to average Americans.

“Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more, and that’s worrying, even though wages are rising,” he said. “We are still facing challenges and we have to deal with them,” he said.

In reality, however, economists say there is little Biden or any president can do to curb inflation. The roots of the current price hike lie in post-pandemic demand and global manufacturing issues.

Nonetheless, Republicans are keen to link inflation and supply chain woes related to the current pandemic to Biden’s macroeconomic agenda – specifically his two major bills on infrastructure and social spending.

“Our initial focus on runaway inflation and a growing supply chain crisis is hitting home with voters,” Indiana GOP Representative Jim Banks wrote in a recent memo to fellow Republicans. “We need to keep moving forward,” said Banks, who chairs the influential Republican Study Committee.

With few concrete options available to tackle inflation, the White House is focusing most of its energy on fixing delays at major ports and other tangible supply chain issues.

On Tuesday, the administration took a slew of steps to address the cargo backlog at major ports, including $4 billion in construction at coastal ports and inland waterways. The work, led by the US Army Corps of Engineers, is scheduled to begin within 60 days.

Some of the pressure on prices is also expected to ease with increased supplies of goods on US shelves.

In the long run, Biden argues that his Build Back Better agenda will put downward pressure on inflation by increasing labor participation and overall productivity. But it will take years for these long-term effects to hit the economy.

However, right now, the future impact of Biden’s agenda has little to do with voters who are struggling to cope with skyrocketing food and fuel prices.

only 42% Americans approve of Biden’s job performance in late October NBC News poll, The same poll showed that 71 percent of voters believed the country was headed in the wrong direction.

Still, Biden insisted on Wednesday that the short-term effects of his administration’s policies would soon pay off.

“Thanks to the steps that we are taking, very soon we are going to start having the supply chain catch up with demand,” he said. “So not only will we see more record-breaking job growth, we’ll also see lower prices and faster delivery.”

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