America is suffocating because of the “lack of everything”

Iit’s just me, Or do you feel like everything is running out of America?

I visited CVS last week to pick up some at-home COVID-19 tests. An employee told me it had been sold out for a week. So I asked for paper towels. “We got out of those too,” he said. “Try Walgreens.” I drove to Walgreens and it had paper towels on it. But when I asked a pharmacist to fill in some very popular recipes, he told me the store had run out. Suggest “Try the target on the road.” The Target pharmacy had medicines, but the area out front was alarmingly barren, like the canned food section of a grocery store an hour before the hurricane made landfall.

This is the economy now. One-hour missions are now multi-hour odyssey rides. Next day deliveries become next day deliveries. Which car part do you need? Sorry, it will take an extra week. The book you were looking for? Come in november. The crib that you bought? Make it in December. Are you looking forward to a new home improvement job that requires multiple construction workers? Haha, pray for 2022.

The US economy has not yet experienced a regression similar to the seventies period of stagflation. This is something completely different and strange. Americans are settling into a new phase of a pandemic economy, with GDP growing but also suffering from a scarcity of a horrific array of things — test kits, auto parts, semiconductors, ships, shipping containers, and workers. This is the lack of everything.

The lack of everything is not the result of a large bottleneck, for example, in Vietnamese factories or the American trucking industry. We’re running out of supplies of all kinds because of the veritable hydra of jams.

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global supply chains in several ways. Pandemic checks have sent hundreds of billions of dollars to cabin-frying Americans during a respite in the service sector. Much of that cash flowed into hard goods, especially household goods like furniture and home improvement items. Many of these items must be imported from or travel through East Asia. But that region deals with the delta variant, which was much more lethal than previous iterations of the virus. Delta caused many closures in semiconductor plants across Asia just as the demand for cars and electronics began to rise. As a result, these pauses along the supply chain are slowing down at the very moment Americans are calling for action to get up to speed.

The most dramatic expression of this snarl is the sanitizer of loaded cargo containers piled on the swaying ships off the coasts of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Just as normal traffic congestion consists of too many drivers trying to use too few lanes, traffic congestion at California’s ports has been exacerbated by excessive consumer demand that has led to a shortage of trucks, truck drivers, and port workers. Since ships cannot be unloaded, there are not enough empty containers on their way to transport all the things that consumers are trying to buy. So the world takes a lesson in Econ 101: high demand plus limited supply equals soaring prices spiraling to the moon. Before the pandemic, booking a container containing nearly 35,000 books cost $2,500. Now it costs $25,000.

The situation of the container is stranger than it seems. With high demand in the United States, a package is currently being shipped from Shanghai to Los Angeles six times More expensive than one shipping from Los Angeles to Shanghai. Michael Cymbalist of JPMorgan books That this has created strong incentives for container owners to ship containers to China – even if they are often empty – to speed up packing and shipping of shipments in Shanghai to travel east. But when containers leave Los Angeles and Long Beach empty, American-made goods that were meant to be sent across the Pacific end up sitting in train cars parked in West Coast ports. Because packed railroad cars can’t unload their goods, they can’t go back and collect more stuff from overwhelmed warehouses in the American interior.

What about truck drivers who need to move materials between warehouses, ports, warehouses, and homes? They are dealing with a multidimensional deficiency, too. Supply chain problems have backed up orders for parts, such as resin for roof coverings and vinyl for seats. But there is also a huge shortage of people to actually drive the excavators. The Minnesota Trucking Association estimates that the country is short of about 60 thousand drivers, due to longstanding employment issues, early retirement, and driving classes canceled due to COVID.

In short, supply chains depend on containers, ports, railways, warehouses, and trucks. Each stage of this international assembly line is disrupted in its own unique way. When the global supply chain operates, it’s like a beautiful invisible system of dominoes clicking forward. Today’s omnishambles is a reminder that dominoes can fall back, too.

athen there Labor market. In the United States, employment opportunities are at record levels in the restaurants, hotels, and other leisure and hospitality sectors. But companies struggle to fill these roles — and to keep factories and some others running at full capacity when the delta infection spreads.

You can see these problems from different angles. From a workers’ perspective, unemployment insurance and several rounds of stimulus have allowed laid-off workers to be selective about jobs, rather than desperately seeking the first available paycheck. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing. But from the perspective of many employers, government programs have exacerbated the appalling labor shortage. Business Recruitment became difficult. The result, from the point of view of consumers, is the same lack of everything. With hundreds of thousands of people finding, hiring and training new roles at the same time difficult during a pandemic, we should all expect a little bit of a slowdown in the service sector for a while – a little more time for a cappuccino, a little longer than waiting for those appetizers. , and a bit of confusion at the convenience store when she asks where the nail polish remover is and the new employee who had to zoom in for her training program needs a moment to remember the aisle numbers.

Finally, as if those slowdowns weren’t enough, there’s the mail. As of this month, the US Postal Service has become Limit its use of air transport to save money. USPS Estimates Deliveries outside of your local area may be delayed by a day or two. But as we’ve seen, relying on railroads and trucks means relying on systems that handle their own chaos.

This has yet to add to the slack. But it portends a very frustrating period of holiday shopping, especially for families who have the habit of buying gifts at the last minute. Isaac Larian, founder and CEO of game maker MGA Entertainment, Tell Bloomberg. “Everything that can go wrong goes wrong at the same time.” The USPS has already announced a price hike for the winter holidays. To avoid paying those extra fees and suffering the Christmas fury of frustrated kids, the recommended course of action is clear: If you want it by December 25, start making those soon. Everyone complains when stores start playing carols and announcing holiday sales in October. This year, “Christmas Creep” is your best shopping strategy. Either that, or get the kids ready to celebrate Christmas morning sometime in January.

NSAh, everything will be missing can it be resolved? One possibility is that Americans are embracing a sustainable, ascetic lifestyle and a home that reduces our dependence on goods that power the global supply chain. If you can seriously imagine such a world, I envy you for your talent for imagination.

The best solution to being short of everything is to have a policy of making more of just about everything. Containers, which carry more than 90 percent of the world’s traded cargo, are overwhelmingly made in China. Why doesn’t America earn more? Auto parts, semiconductors, and household goods were moved overseas, making the United States heavily dependent on overseas factories. Why can’t America achieve more? At-home COVID-19 tests, which can shed light on household infections and prevent community spread, have just been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, nearly two years into the pandemic. Why didn’t America do more?

Over the decades, many American companies have moved to manufacturing overseas, taking advantage of cheap labor and cheap materials across oceans. In normal times America benefits from world trade, and the price of offshoring is borne by the unfortunate few in the non-industrialized regions. But the pandemic and supply chain meltdowns remind us that deindustrialization can be felt more broadly during a crisis when we’re running out of, well, close to everything. That’s why Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan includes billions of dollars to remanufacture, invest in basic research, and strengthen local supply chains.

The scarcity of our manufactured parts and containers is part of a broader crisis of manufacturing scarcity in America. The protectionist and anti-growth instinct runs through the government, and it doesn’t just make it happen Flatfoot CDC And FDA overdue but also strict restrictions on housing construction, immigration, licensing professionals and new traders. Emphasis on redistribution of income and goods is natural to today’s progressives, who tend to emphasize the virtue of equality. One of the lessons learned from the lack of everything is: You cannot redistribute what was not created in the first place. The best equality agenda begins with an abundant agenda.

Today’s crisis is an opportunity to emphasize a new philosophy of what New York timesEzra Klein callsProgressive on the supply sideThis approach may begin by prioritizing policies that reduce the cost of housing and health care, and reproducing items we consider essential to national security during a pandemic or an unrelated supply chain disaster. Decades from now, we may consider To the legacy of the pandemic, we see that it took a global crisis of choke points to teach us that real progress begins by removing choke points at home.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *