No, Joe Biden can’t save Christmas – Reason.com

No, America, President Joe Biden is not Santa Claus.

To make the country politically iting, to vaccinate everyone and to give Christmas gifts is nothing but his goodwill and the attraction of state power. . It’s been almost two years, and now inflation is closing in like a flying reindeer team. We can all use a wonderful story about a generous hero that brings joy to a tired world.

A story like this: “President Joe Biden is rushing to ease traffic congestion across the country’s complex shipping supply chain because it threatens to disrupt the holiday season for millions of Americans.”

The first sentence of an article published this week – yes, really Politico The cheerful old elf of the White House apparently splashed into American ports to save Christmas.

In reality, what Biden did was much less dynamic. He lectured brobetting companies and port operators for logistical lodges and made some vague threats about dumping coal sacks on their stockings. “If the private sector doesn’t move forward, we’ll call them and ask them to work,” Biden said.

As president, Biden has to give a hint of trying to do something. In most cases the job is involved. “If there is a universally accepted policy in American political life, it is that the President of the United States should not let Christmas go without a hitch,” wrote Rich Lori, its editor. National Review. To become indifferent or helpless in something as horrible as a slightly less prosperous holiday season is to invite public disrespect – or at least a handful of them who are not bound by the Republican or Democrat vote, whatever it is. We have turned the President into an omnipotent office and we hope that our gifts and government checks will be delivered in a timely manner.

But the problem of believing in an omnipotent government is the same as believing in Santa Claus. Logistics just doesn’t work. He wasn’t talking about Old St. Nick, but could also be FA Hayek when describing the so-called knowledge problem. From the Commerce Department or from the heights of the North Pole, there is no easy way for an individual (or large bureaucrat) to know which string to pull and which buttons to push. Not even if there are elves to help them.

And so Biden is left to do something when virtually everyone says about these things that he is unable to help.

“What the president is doing doesn’t really hurt. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t solve the problem,” Steven Richeuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities, told Reuters.

“There is no political intervention to do this, and it cannot be a humanitarian intervention that accomplishes it because the problem is going to go well until next year,” says Steve Passiarb, president and chief executive officer of the Toy Association. Politico. (In fact, Passiarb’s quote appears Only four paragraphs Shortly after Biden’s “rush to clear the traffic jam” in the supply chain.)

It goes without saying that Biden is not giving any good idea. The White House seems to have put considerable political pressure on the port of Los Angeles, where an estimated 600 ships awaited offshore last month, with the port expected to open 2/7 in the near future. It’s pretty wild that the port isn’t already doing that in light of the light, you know, the 60 ships that are offshore waiting, and the fact that most of the world’s major ports are already working twenty-four hours a day.

The guilt there seems to lie with at least a large part Biden’s union friendIn particular the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents workers in the Port of Los Angeles and others on the West Coast. “A long history of toxic labor-management relations, especially on the West Coast, has caused many problems today at the center of U.S. container flows,” writes Peter Tirschwell. Trade magazines, A trade publication. “Massive cost increases, the ability to terminate automatically, long-term avoidance interruptions during contract negotiations, and much lower productivity and working hours than ports in Asia and elsewhere in the world are key to this problem.”

As Scott Linkikom, a trade policy expert at the Cato Institute, noted in a recently published newsletter Transmission, The United States does not have a single port in the top 50 of the World Bank’s Container Port Performance Index. The port of Philadelphia ranks 83rd in the world. Los Angeles ranks 328th.

Automation may be part of the solution, but of course the unions hate the idea. In 2019, the Longshoreman Union secured an agreement that would keep the automated terminals away from the port of Los Angeles for at least another six years. So mark your calendars for the 2025 Christmas.

Biden has spent a good chunk of this year trying to sell Congress his proposed infrastructure plan, which would include the proposed 16 16 billion to upgrade ports. But without a discount from the union, these upgrades could be less impressive than they might otherwise be.

But even if Biden could solve his labor problems with just a finger on the side of his nose (or lean on his trade union allies), the corrections are unlikely to be felt in the next two months. Even the transfer to port 2/7 operation, which requires more staff (which is difficult to do now), will not happen overnight. There are countless other problems in warehousing, the trucking industry, and elsewhere. Some work epidemics, others exacerbate long-term problems by epidemics. None will be resolved quickly, and government intervention could make the situation worse, not better.

The miracle of the modern holiday shopping season, as it turns out, is not that an almighty friend delivers millions of gifts in one night. It’s the fact that thousands of people work millions of hours a week and months before December 25th to move mountains of goods around the planet, so everything can be in the right place at the right time and with adequate supplies. Without being in charge of the whole thing except one.

This means that there is no one who can fix the problem. The Biden administration should cut any rules that focus in the long run and stop any government policies (such as counter-excise duties) so that ports can operate more efficiently. This should be the work assigned to John D. Porkari, a former deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation, who was tapped in August as the administration’s point person for supply chain issues. Unfortunately, “Porkari’s primary way is to call meetings with companies at different stages of the shipping process and encourage them to increase their time and share information about barriers.” Politico.

This is not the role of the government, so it is not surprising that months of phone calls and speeches have apparently achieved nothing. Meanwhile, retailers such as Walmart, Target, Costco and Home Depot are renting their own cargo ships and sending them to smaller ports where delays are less, The Wall Street Journal Reported this week. It’s the kind of innovative, figure-it-out-a-we-go approach that will save the holiday season, not a top-down order from the White House.

We do not elect a president as America’s gift-giving chief, and anyone old enough to vote for president should know that Santa Claus is not real.

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