White House officials, working to alleviate global bottlenecks choking US ports, highways and railways, warn Americans could face higher prices and empty shelves this Christmas season.
The supply crisis, triggered in part by the global COVID-19 pandemic, not only threatens to curb US spending at a critical time, but also poses a political risk to President Joe Biden.
The White House has attempted to tackle the inflation-inducing bottlenecks of everything from meat to semiconductors, and formed a task force in June that meets weekly and appointed a “bottleneck czar.” strangulation âto get private sector companies to tone down the grumbling.
Biden himself plans to meet with senior executives at retail giants Wal-Mart Inc and Home Depot Inc and unions and other stakeholders on Wednesday to discuss efforts to reduce transportation bottlenecks. before giving a speech on the subject.
U.S. consumers, unaccustomed to clearing store shelves, may need to be flexible and patient, White House officials said.
“There will be things people cannot get,” a senior White House official told Reuters when asked about the holiday purchases.
âAt the same time, a lot of these products are hopefully substitutable for other things. â¦ I don’t think there is any real reason to be panicked, but we all feel the frustration and there is some need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time.
Inflation is eating away at wages. Data from the Department of Labor shows that Americans were earning 0.9% less per hour on average in August than they had a year earlier.
The White House maintains that inflation is a sign that their decision to provide historic support to small businesses and households, with $ 1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief funding, has worked.
US consumer demand has remained strong, outpacing global rivals, and the Biden administration expects overall economy growth of 7.1%, as inflation hits its highest levels since the 1980s .