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Buttigieg says supply chain crisis to run into 2022, puts lipstick on pig to sell empty shelves as robust demand

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tried on Sunday to use America’s current supply chain woes to cajole Congress into passing all of President Joe Biden’s controversial agenda.

Speaking on CNN, he first predicted that the supply chain crisis will continue into 2022 but then argued that there are certain “short-term and long-term steps” that could be used to “do something about it.”

“Well, certainly, a lot of the challenges that we have been experiencing this year will continue into next year, but there are both short-term and long-term steps that we can take to do something about it,” he said, adding, “Look, part of what’s happening isn’t just the supply side, it’s the demand side. Demand is off the charts. Retail sales are through the roof.”

He then laid out those steps, and they just incidentally happened to involve passing the president’s entire agenda from A to Z on the dubious basis that his agenda would “reduce inflationary pressure” on America’s supply chains.

Listen:

First Buttigieg called for passing the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.

“There are a lot of steps that we’re taking right now to address this in the short term, but, also, at risk of repeating myself on something that I have been talking about, and the president’s been talking about all year, this is one more example of why we need to pass the infrastructure bill,” he said.

“There are $17 billion in the president’s infrastructure plan for ports alone. And we need to deal with these long-term issues that have made us vulnerable to these kinds of bottlenecks when there are demand fluctuations, shocks and disruptions like the ones that have been caused by the pandemic.”

This prompted host Jake Tapper to note that Democrats refuse to vote on the infrastructure bill unless Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, also Democrats, agree to vote on the president’s exorbitant “Build Back Better” plan first.

“It’s sitting in the House, and House progressives are not going to vote for it unless they first get a vote, a successful vote, on the larger social safety net bill. Are you frustrated by that delay? Do you think that was a mistake for progressives to demand this other legislation be voted on before the infrastructure bill?” he said.

Buttigieg responded by taking the side of so-called “progressives” and claiming, in contradiction of all known evidence, that the bill would “reduce inflationary pressure” and thus ease pressure on America’s supply chains as well.

“Well, the reality is that America needs both of those pieces of legislation, not only to make sure that we have the right kind of infrastructure, but to make sure that life gets better in this country for people trying to raise children … and for people trying to participate in the workforce,” he said.

“[O]ne thing that has not been talked about enough is their finding about how the overall Build Back Better vision is designed to reduce inflationary pressures. So, if you care about inflation, you ought to care about … the provisions in Build Back Better like paid family leave, like making it easier to afford child care, like community college that are going to give us a stronger labor force and help us deal with that major constraint on economic growth.”

President Joe Biden has also repeatedly made this argument, but numerous critics have pushed back on this rhetoric by arguing the opposite — that continued spending by his administration will exacerbate inflation, not “reduce inflationary pressures.”

In a particularly critical piece published in July, the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal not only fact-checked Biden’s dubious claim but also noted the current inflation spike is a result of the dubious policies that he’s already signed into law.

“Mr. Biden ought to be enjoying an economic boom from the ebbing pandemic as the government lockdowns end. Instead his policies have abetted a spike in inflation that is outstripping gains in wages. Telling people not to believe what they see with their own eyes is rarely a good political strategy,” they wrote.

Writing for the New York Post last week, another critic, respected economist Peter Navarro, warned that “if Congress adds fuel to the fire” by passing the president’s agenda, the crisis will only grow worse.

Vivek Saxena

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