Joe Biden is looking a little Grinchy, having decided to fire the unvaccinated across America as we head toward the holidays. Even though the end of enhanced unemployment benefits has not brought back millions of former employees who’ve held out since the COVID lockdown, Biden decided it would be wise to fire a lot more people, mandating last week that all businesses with more than 100 employees terminate any employees who continue to refuse the government’s experimental, warp-speed vaccine.
While President Biden may think he’s going to strong-arm people who don’t want to get vaccinated into a strong shot in the arm by punishing them with poverty and the threat of losing their homes as we enter the holiday season, he may find he find he has just enraged them and increased their willingness to take a stand against forced medication. If so, that will mean a lot more people have to be fired, adding to the soup lines at a time when soup shelves are growing bare.
I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, I see a number of small businesses already running fewer hours due to lack of employees and running with reduced menus or partially empty shelves due to unattainable supply. Has Jumpin’ Joe not stopped to think that an additional major drain of employees to run shops and move products around the nation does not add up to the kind of holiday retail season that can put companies in the black and may be all it takes to shove an already fading economy into a black winter hole?
Will major trucking companies like Swift being forced by the nation’s ruler-by-decree to lay off hundreds of Trump-loving truckers help the nation with its widespread shortages?
Already, a hospital in New Jersey has announced it won’t be allowing any more baby births due to lack of staffing because of its new vaccination policies:
An upstate New York hospital will stop delivering babies later this month, in part because of employee resignations over a requirement they be vaccinated against COVID-19…. “The number of resignations received leaves us no choice but to pause delivering babies at Lewis County General Hospital.”
I guess the babies will have to start backing up at the ports to those wombs like all the container ships that can’t find a berth either are doing all over the world. Something tells me, the babies will not be as compliant about waiting; so, maybe there will be more street births. Ah well, the Christmas story began with no room for a baby. President Joseph apparently wants to add his own mark on the story.
Ports are more plugged than ever
Speaking of backed-up berths, Biden launches his effort to create a deeper COVID shortage in the labor force at a time when US ports are already more backlogged with shipping vessels than any time before. That is partly due to US ports not having enough labor to unload ships, and partly due to those ship not having a port to sail to because other ports of the world don’t have enough labor due to regional COVID lockdowns. Biden has apparently decided that now would be the opportune time to make sure this problem becomes worse before it gets better.
You may remember me publishing this graph last month, which showed how many ships were backed up at ports:
At the time, I wrote,
You can see in the following graph how US West Coast ports got backlogged back when China experienced its COVID lockdowns and then how it looked like that was going to be transitory as economies, including China, opened back up, and, finally, how all of that has fallen to pieces again now that the Delta variant is closing down Chinese ports again…. Apparently, the supply-chain bottlenecks are not so transitory after all. Never underestimate the power of a tiny virus at stopping the world in its tracks.
Well, that chart now looks like this:
The backlog has increased by a third since that article last month. The timing for exacerbating this couldn’t be better since holiday gifts are supposed to start filling warehouses now for October and November’s redistribution to retail stores. Does Biden really want to be the Grinch that stole Christmas?
The expansion of the shipping log jam hasn’t helped inflation any. The dotted red line in the graph below is the level reached by the highest shipping costs per container when I reported a month ago, and the solid line is where those same runs price today. You can see they have only continued to rise — prices that will show up in stores when and if the products in those ships ever show up in stores:
That means additional inflation waits in the pipeline (or at the waterline), a problem not about to go away soon. According to Long Beach Port Director Mario Cordero,
I don’t see substantial mitigation with regard to the congestion that the major container ports are experiencing…. Many people believe it’s going to continue through the summer of 2022…. Bob Biesterfield, chief executive of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. the largest freight broker in North America, said shortages of truck drivers and warehouse workers are making shipping delays worse as the need to replenish inventories is at an all-time high. “I don’t think that’s something that just gets fixed in the next four to five months in accordance with the Lunar New Year,”
I also noted in my August article,
Once you start seeing empty shelves in major retailers with vast resources, you’ve entered a situation that can become catastrophic in a hurry. Suddenly, you will have people who can’t get basic necessities because of jammed-up shipping, lack of laborers in production and retail, COVID shutdowns around the world, and lack of resources to build things out of or parts to make them. We haven’t seen that until now because large corporate inventories were carrying us through as a buffer, but those inventories are mostly depleted now, and that means prices are likely to rise faster as people compete for the things they need. Do our government officials realize how quickly this could go from concerning to a panic?
Apparently, having taken another actual economic lockdown off the table in his public statements, Jalopy Joe felt he needed to find an alternative way to make sure US labor falls further so that shortages are redistributed more equitably across the land. No need to worry about the impact on economic data from these people who are terminated for refusal of a vaccine (even if they already had COVID so have better immunity than a vaccine can ever deliver). They won’t show up in the “unemployment” data because they will never be eligible for unemployment since they are unemployed due to refusing a vaccine. Their refusal to comply with the Orwellian mandate will be deemed “insubordination.” If you don’t hit the unemployment benefit rolls, you don’t ever show up in the data.
However, neither do the things you used to produce or deliver show up on shelves. To the extent that forced vaccination is unsuccessful at getting medicine into people’s arms, it will be that much more successful in keeping everything else off store shelves and restaurant menus — already a major problem:
Milkshakes are missing from U.K.’s McDonald’s branches, tomatoes are rotting on Italian farms, and soldiers mingle with farmers on Vietnam’s rice paddies. All because of shortage of staff.
A dearth of farm and slaughterhouse workers, truckers, chefs or waiters is hitting global food supply chains hard, causing processing slowdowns, delivery delays and empty supermarket shelves.
Like most people in the developed world, Kirsten Gjesdal had long taken for granted her ability to order whatever she needs and then watch the goods arrive, without any thought about the factories, container ships and trucks involved in delivery.
She recently received a pot lid she had purchased eight months earlier. She has grown accustomed to paying surcharges to cover the soaring shipping costs of the goods she buys. She has already placed orders for Christmas items like wreaths and baking pans.
“It’s nuts,” she said. “It’s definitely not getting back to normal….”
Delays, product shortages and rising costs continue to bedevil businesses large and small. And consumers are confronted with an experience once rare in modern times: no stock available, and no idea when it will come in.
The figgy pudding may be in short supply this Christmas. Welcome to the USSA where empty shelves will become a common site this winter.
However, there will be no shortage of inflation:
That’s adding to a long list of problems for the food supply chains this year — from extreme weather pounding crops to soaring freight costs and shipping bottlenecks. All of that is threatening to compound inflation….
Employers are already dangling higher wages, sign-on bonuses and other perks to lure workers, while seeking creative measures. Spicy chicken chain Nando’s, which was forced to temporarily close some of its U.K. restaurants, sent its own workers to help its troubled suppliers.
Thanks to the Biden Tax & Vax plan businesses are going to have to dangle a lot more bait and spicy perks.
Santa’s only reindeer is stagflation
Big banks are finally starting to get the picture that their master, the Fed, is wrong about all of this inflation being “transitory.” Michael Hartnett of Bank of America says the US is already in the first phase of “stagflation,” meaning we’ll see higher inflation coupled with weaker economic growth, which takes us, as expected, back to the early 70’s … and that brings us back to this inflation streak eventually becoming the thing that breaks the back of this stock market bull.
Stagflation is characterised by weak growth and persistently high inflation. It is usually seen as a particularly vicious period in the economic cycle, when very few asset classes perform well.… While global markets have recorded a string of highs over the summer period, market sentiment has become increasingly cautious due to rising inflation.
Better do your Christmas shopping early this year and lay in supplies for those holiday meals, or tree and table may be bare. What you can get your hands on will be rare. So, expect to pay dearly as president Biden’s Tax & Vax program creatively broadens our COVID shutdowns in the belief that he can force people to do what he thinks is the socially responsible thing. Of course, what else can you expect from these Democrat politicians than their failure to see the real-world repercussions of their social-engineering ideals?
Biden’s 3.5-trillion-dollar tax hike — the largest in the history of the world — should add to the avalanche of troubles coming down on us. Nothing like hitting the nation with a massive tax increase for social programs at a time when the economy is sinking, prices are rising, and goods are scarce because workers are scarce. Higher taxes passed just before congress’s holiday break are sure to be just the shot in the arm the economy and markets need. If the Fed tapers at the same time, this could could really become the winter of our discontent.
Reprinted with author’s permission from The Great Recession Blog