The Corner

White House

Biden: The Bully in Chief Reappears

President Joe Biden takes questions from reporters before boarding Air Force One in Lansing, Mich., October 5, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

You can always tell when Biden’s White House aides panic over the president’s sliding approval numbers. They send him out to bully people.

Last month, he ordered private employers to mandate vaccinations for their employees. This week, new inflation numbers prompted Biden to call out companies involved in the global supply-chain bottleneck.

If the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act,” Biden told reporters.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, followed up by acknowledging consumer concerns about Christmas deliveries. When asked if the administration can guarantee holiday packages will arrive on time, Psaki said, “We are not the Postal Service or UPS or FedEx, we cannot guarantee.”

No kidding, but Biden’s view is that the global supply-chain crisis is something that can be fixed through force of will. As economist Tyler Cowen of George Mason points out, there are many causes for the bottleneck: labor shortages at factories and ports, energy shortages, ships getting stuck sideways in canals, bad weather, unexpectedly high demand for some goods, and more.

Cowen discusses a couple of problems that are linked to government intervention. On labor shortages: “In some cases government benefits may be keeping them from working. That adds further delays to trade networks.” Biden’s decision to extend overly generous unemployment benefits is still biting back.

Then Cowen points to energy problems: “Many countries have sought to move to greener energy supplies, but without first having sufficient alternatives in place. Japan and Germany decided to abandon their previous nuclear power commitments, and more recently China has seen power shortages.” And in the U.S., Biden has rattled the energy-investment sector by killing the Keystone Pipeline and discouraging domestic-energy production.

Cowen also notes that, “If networks for energy and international trade are not working well, many other parts of the economy will be malfunctioning.”

Biden could do things that stop making the supply-chain problem worse. But instead, he’s playing King Canute and cracking the whip on the private sector to, damn it, fix the entire problem. All this just proves how little Biden understands his job or comprehends economics.

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