Backed-up global supply chains are stoking inflation and goods shortages as the holiday season approaches.
As economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for goods returns, suppliers are struggling to keep up. President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24/7 to alleviate the supply chain crunch. L.A.'s port and the Port of Palm Beach, which also recently switched to round-the-clock hours, handle roughly 40% of shipping into the U.S. Last week, international business leaders warned of a potential systemic collapse if issues persist.
Outlets across the spectrum covered the supply problems and worldwide inflation concerns prominently, and many voices on all sides have raised concerns about current U.S. inflation. Center- and right-rated voices more often argue that current inflation trends could be permanent; others, including some economists and left-rated voices, argue that inflation will likely subside once COVID-19 is fully under control. Right-rated outlets often focused more on rising U.S. inflation and recent Labor Department data that says the consumer price index rose 5.4% since last September. Some left-rated voices offered tips for helping people adjust to inflation and shortages.
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Snippets from the Center
"For months, factories in Asia have faced shortages of parts, raw materials, and workers amid the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Ports in China have had to halt operations. The Suez Canal closure in March, when a giant ship ran aground, imposed lasting ripple effects."
"Many economists believed the burst of inflation seen earlier in the year would quickly fade as supply chains kicked back into gear and workers came back into the labor force with the pandemic well under control. But as the delta variant caused a global resurgence in COVID-19 cases, supply chains buckled again while demand chugged along."
Snippets from the Right
"Ronald Klain, the White House chief of staff, was criticized online late Wednesday after he retweeted a post from a Harvard professor that summed up our top economic issues as 'high class problems.'...Prices are jumping in large part because container ships are stranded at ports and because unloaded goods are waiting for trucks, leading to mass shortages and delays that have caused a longer than expected bout of inflation. "
"Several Alabama schools are warning parents they may be unable to feed students amidst the labor shortage and supply chain issues, with one school going as far as warning students may need to revert to remote learning. Alexander City Schools wrote in a Saturday Facebook post that the school had not received food deliveries in recent weeks 'due to suppliers who are short on supplies, drivers and even warehouse employees.'"
Snippets from the Left
"Fixing the supply chain snarls that are behind some of the price pressures has become a priority, with President Biden announcing yesterday that the Port of Los Angeles will operate around the clock and that major companies including FedEx, UPS and Walmart will expand their working hours. But it’s not clear how much those efforts can help because the blockages stretch up and down supply chains, from foreign harbors to American railyards and warehouses."
"Beyond buying early and paying more, there are other ways customers can adapt. Shoppers should consider purchasing products that aren’t their first choice, since some items, like the PlayStation 5, will likely be in short supply until sometime next year. When buying online, it may be worth looking to see if local stores have a curbside pick-up option."