President Joe Biden’s chief of staff brushes off record-high inflation and the supply-chain crisis helping fuel it as “high class problems.” It’s a stunning admission of indifference from a well-connected multimillionaire — but just the latest example of this administration’s cluelessness about Americans’ suffering from its failures.
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“This,” Ron Klain emphasized Wednesday in quote-tweeting Harvard economist Jason Furman, who wrote, “Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems. We wouldn’t have had them if the unemployment rate was still 10 percent. We would instead have had a much worse problem.”
Fine: The rising cost of everything from groceries to diapers to cars is no problem for Klain, who’s worth between $4.4 million and $12.2 million.
But food, fuel and housing are costing households at the $70,000 median annual income an extra $175 a month. The Consumer Price Index rose 5.4 percent last month from a year ago, and wholesale prices jumped a record 8.6 percent. Such inflation hits working Americans and those on fixed incomes, such as seniors, the hardest.
With most Americans vaccinated, we should be well on our way back to the pre-pandemic booming economy, which saw just 3.5 percent unemployment in February 2020. Instead, nearly 40 percent of US households report serious financial difficulties, such as trouble paying utility bills, in recent months; it’s 60 percent among households earning under 50 grand a year.
They can thank Biden and the Democrats. Throwing trillions into an already-recovering economy was bound to lead to inflation, as was boosting unemployment benefits $300 a week until September. The resulting rise in demand and worker shortage have also contributed to the supply-chain mess, with a record number of job openings in the trucking industry. A backlog of nearly 100 cargo ships has sat for a month off Southern California, unable to unload goods at ports that handle more than half of American imports.
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Biden only moved to open the Los Angeles port 24/7 this week — and actually thanked his Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force for its “leadership.” What has it been doing since he established it in June? Not much, clearly: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, one of its leaders, has been on paternity leave since mid-August. Talk about fiddling while Rome burns.
Team Biden simply doesn’t care about the pain. Of the news that the economy added just 194,000 jobs last month, far below expectations of 500,000, Biden breezily said, “The monthly totals bounce around,” while Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said of his own department’s numbers, “I don’t think it’s as bad as what everyone’s reporting.”
Biden killed the Keystone Pipeline, along with its well-paying jobs, his first day in office, and climate czar and private-jet fan John Kerry suggested the newly unemployed “can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels.”
Maybe Team Biden’s members should skip their resorts one weekend and find out just how badly their policies are hurting working Americans.