Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
According to the White House, the purpose of the President’s cabinet “is to advise the President on any subject he or she may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.” Based on President Biden’s cabinet members it looks like he is getting either no advice or very poor advice.
This happens with at least five critical cabinet members who have not been able to come up with reasonable suggestions for solutions to the nation’s most difficult problems. These Secretaries’ apparent lack of knowledge is causing solvable problems to get much worse.
For instance, the US has a very severe supply chain crisis. That means goods that have been produced either in the US or in other countries cannot quickly or efficiently be transported to their final destination. In other words, there is a transportation problem.
The president relies on Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to provide suggested solutions. Initially, he was unavailable due to a six-month paternity leave. When he was forced to cut the leave short and return to his job during this crisis, he offered no suggestions for a solution.
He said the supply chain crisis will continue as long as the pandemic continues. In the long term, the infrastructure bill will help. In the short term, Americans are just buying too much. He offered no immediate suggestions, like increasing the number of hours a driver can drive from 11 to 12. Canada allows 13.
Or reduce the national age requirement for drivers from 21 to 18, as it is in every state.
The supply chain crisis is made worse by the lack of mostly lower-paid workers. This is because more than 3 million of these workers who were laid off at the beginning of the pandemic are not returning to the labor market. Based on receiving free money from the federal government in the last two years, and mostly not paying their rent, they can afford to stay home.
Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh is supposed to advise Biden on how to solve this labor shortage. Walsh says he is perplexed by the problem and suggests the cause of the problem is the pandemic. And there are people who want a better work/life balance. He says there are “no answers” to solve this.
The US also has a very severe energy problem. The price of gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas has increased by 50% in the past year. This is contributing to the severe inflation problem and is hurting the lowest income earners the most.
Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm seems to not have any answers at all. In fact, she does not know how many barrels of oil the US consumes daily and laughs when asked what the US government can do to increase production and lower prices.
She apparently helped Biden to make the decision to release 50 million barrels of oil from the National Reserve. Considering the US consumes nearly 7 billion barrels annually, Biden’s action will have little to no impact on prices.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has no immediate solutions to the rising cost of food. He says the administration will build back a better food system, step up antitrust enforcement, invest tax-payer dollars in small businesses and get ahead of climate-related disruptions.
Those vague suggestions will do nothing to reduce the price of food in the short term and may be counter-productive in the long term as the government gets more involved in business practices.
Then there is the overall inflation problem that is caused, at least in part, by excess demand in the economy made worse by huge government spending and the resulting deficits of the past two years. In fiscal 2020 and 2021, the federal government spent nearly $6 trillion more than they received in tax revenue. On a $22 trillion economy, even one coming out of recession, that is purely inflationary.
Biden relies on Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen for advice. She says that the federal government should spend more money, increase the deficit further and that will reduce inflation. Of course, exactly the opposite is true.
Add in a Secretary of Defense who, based on the Afghanistan retreat and the US policy toward China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, can’t seem to offer sensible advice on how to defend the country.
It is no wonder why we are in the current mess. Biden’s politically correct choices for cabinet members are obviously far from the most qualified.
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