Ol’ Man River is Not Rolling Along

If you think the price of energy and food has reached the limit, I have bad news for you: All signs are it’s going to be much worse. Hot Air described the coming supply chain wreck.. Water levels on the Mississippi are tied with an all-time low. And that portends a bitter winter for consumers:

Just under half (47%) of all grain is moved by barge, according to the USDA. Approximately 5.4 million barrels of crude and 35% of thermal coal are moved on the Mississippi.

That’s just a small amount of Mississippi traffic, A great deal more than grain and coal normally is shipped by barge on the Mississippi.

That domestic decline in shipping is compounded by the mess in those ports bringing in foreign products. To avoid the snarl in California’s ports (compounded by California’s labor laws and air-quality regulations), ships are being diverted and unloaded in New York and New Jersey.  Those ports offer far less unloading capacity than those in Los Angeles and Long Beach.

But transferring cargo to East Coast ports has also caused its own set of problems. The ports themselves are smaller in scale than either Long Beach or LA, and can’t hold as many ships or get them offloaded and cleared for the next cargo to come in. That is causing significant delays in on-time reliability. In other words, there’s a pretty decent chance that what you ordered may not get to the United States anywhere near the date they quoted you for its arrival. Once your container does arrive, it may sit in the boat for a while.

Even the next-tier port in Savannah is overwhelmed with more traffic than it can service, and once those ships are unloaded there’s insufficient storage and labor to move the products out to retailers and ultimately consumers.

The supply chain problem is likely to get even worse because the threatened railroad workers strike has not been settled but simply postponed to November 19.

Logistics managers are dusting off their plans for a possible railroad strike in November that could wreak havoc on the supply chain and cost the U.S. economy up to $2 billion a day. 

Do you imagine our economy is so strong we can afford another $2 billion loss per day? I don’t think so. Inflation is already destroying the poor and middle class. You’ve probably noticed this yourself, but Don Surber details the food price horror story: 

Vegetables up 40.2%

Grains up 30.4%

Eggs up 97.3%

Baked goods up 14%

Pasta up 34.1%

Dairy products up 18.2%

Fresh fruit up 20.7%

Turkey up 38.2%

Each delay -- especially of perishable products -- will lead to even higher costs and more product loss and scarcity. Stock up on essentials as best you can.

Neither the President nor the Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg seem to have the ability to deal with these disruptions. Indeed, Buttigieg’s focus seems to be directed to ripping up Interstate 375 that runs through Detroit at a cost of $104.6 million in federal funds under some lunatic notion of racial justice. Also high on his list of priorities is handing out big federal checks for “infrastructure” before the midterms:

Buttigieg’s blitz to sell one of Biden’s signature domestic victories comes just 10 weeks before the midterm election. In a stroke of fortuitous timing, Buttigieg’s department doled out some $2.2 billion last week alone to 166 transportation projects.

The oversized checks and new signage that should appear on 5,300 construction projects over the next 30 days or so will be a visible sign to Americans that the administration is making progress on its agenda despite the challenges of working with a closely divided Congress, he said.

“The point is not to chase after the percentage of people who know that a certain piece of legislation moved in a certain way,” Buttigieg said in an interview inside Berlin’s City Hall, not far from where he once had a campaign office in this North Country town. “The important thing is for people to know that this administration, with support from leaders in Congress who’ve worked together to get this done, is now delivering for that and getting those numbers to leap off the page, turning it into real tangible benefits. That’s a story that I think we do need to do more work to tell, because it doesn’t tell itself.”

There is no evidence that either Biden or Buttigieg have the skill or will to deal with these critical supply chain disruptions. I doubt this tsunami of cash to the Democrats before the midterms will impress anyone before November 8. The administration could not be worse at performing its executive functions. The only bright spot in a broader sense that I can see is that there seems to be a strong and strengthening likelihood that on November 8 we will elect a new Congress and Senate with some chance of impeaching Buttigieg, tying up our demented President’s hands and refocusing the federal government on matters of national interest, instead of payoffs and partisan warfare. Of course, his own party may force him out immediately after the midterms and then the new Congress will be tying the hands of his likely successor, the word-salad queen Vice President Kamala Harris, who was selected for this spot on the ticket upon the same diversity over competence basis as Buttigieg was.

I’m not alone on the notion of butting Biden out of the White House. You may have noticed the mainstream media is suddenly reporting the President’s apparent befuddlement, something they’ve been hiding for two years. They’re bailing on him. Not, unfortunately, because he’s so obviously corrupt and incompetent, but because the media is in synch with the party’s left-wing base and the base is unhappy with him.

The Democratic activist base and the media want bold, loud, concrete action. Whether that means abolishing the filibuster to codify Roe, adding additional Supreme Court justices, or even impeaching them, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has called for, they want action. Failing that, Joe has to go. The media were always going to hold Biden accountable from the Left flank on the issues they care about, such as climate change and abortion. They see a tired, part-time president and sinking poll numbers, not to mention the terrifying possibility of a Ron DeSantis presidency or the return of Donald Trump, and have hit the panic button.

All polling points to Biden’s majorities in the House and Senate being wiped out come the November midterm elections. When that happens, and I mean the very next day, these innuendos and grumblings for Biden to step aside will become full-bore primal screams, and he won’t be able to survive them. 

Prepare for a wild few weeks politically and a difficult winter to come.

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