From Christmas toys to clothing and auto parts, shortages of imported goods are forcing factories to idle, store shelves to sit empty and consumers to panic.
What else is missing? The truth about what is causing this economic crisis.
President Joe Biden, who boasts of leading “the most pro-union administration in history”, will not admit longshoreman unions are holding nation hostage, refusing to allow use of equipment automated systems to unload container ships and get goods onto trucks faster.
The United States is the world’s largest importer, but its major ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., Rank 328 and 333, respectively, on the Bank’s Container Ports Performance Index. global. It means an inefficiency nightmare worse than most developing countries. No US port has entered the top 50 in terms of speed and efficiency. In contrast, the Japanese port of Yokohama ranks No. 1.
Nearly 100 container ships wait off Los Angeles to be unloaded. The longer they wait, the more the prices of imported products rise, knocking out consumers.
On Wednesday, Biden announced a “game changer,” saying the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would remain open longer hours for a “90-day sprint” until Christmas. The truth is, most of the world’s ports operate 24/7. Port operators here have not done this in the past because union contracts require paying higher hourly rates for night and weekend work. Dockworkers’ wages already average $ 171,000 per year. Wednesday’s announcement was a concession from port operators, not unions.
But increasing the hours will not solve the bottlenecks. Overtime will increase the movement of goods by less than 10%, or about 3,500 containers per week. The real problem is the fierce opposition of unions to labor-saving equipment. Automated port cranes operate at least twice as fast as obsolete US port cranes. Biden port envoy John Porcari revealed the truth when he said last week that it was “your grandfather’s infrastructure that we are working with.”
The unions will have no other way. The International Longshoremen’s Association contract, which runs until 2024, blocks the use of automation technology. Willie Adams, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents workers on the west coast, said automated cargo handling equipment would not be tolerated.
Here’s the biggest lie, straight from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He went on parental leave in August, ignoring the worsening supply crisis. But he was off diaper duty long enough on Sunday to shovel adult manure. Buttigieg said dysfunctional ports are “another example of why we need to pass the infrastructure bill.”
In truth, the $ 17 billion for ports in the infrastructure bill is mostly for emission reductions, repairs and dredging. Nothing is allocated to automation that saves labor. In fact, Section 30102 of Biden’s Build Back Better Bill expressly prohibits the use of funds provided therein for the purpose of automation.
No surprise. Build Better is chock-full of favors for unions, including an additional $ 4,500 sweetener available only to consumers who buy a union-made electric vehicle and a massive $ 14,000 tax credit for homeowners who install electric vehicles. Energy efficient appliances and electrical equipment, provided the contractor is doing the work is unionized. Otherwise, zip. Unions are spending millions on advertising to pass the bill.
Biden is bought, paid for and controlled by the unions. Some 98.8% of the union money spent on the 2020 presidential election went to Biden. Now is the time for recovery.
The media hide it. Last week, a Washington Post article claimed that “voters blame presidents for all kinds of portfolio problems presidents can’t fix.”
Biden could take action, but he won’t. Despite the pressure for trillions in new spending, Biden chooses not to automate U.S. ports. He bowed down to his union supporters. It means keeping the dysfunctional US ports. It is a brake on the global economy.
The current supply shortages have many causes, from too few truckers to closures in Asia due to COVID. But one problem can be fixed: our obsolete ports. If only Biden had the will to act.
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