Arlene Salas scans an item at Target on the Thanksgiving Day holiday in Burbank, Calif., in 2012. (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters)
Though the U.S. economy has re-opened, a supply chain crisis persists, prompting the White House to announce that certain items may not be available to consumers in the upcoming holiday season.
With inflation marching on, recent data suggests the price hikes won’t be tempering anytime soon, given that large industries ranging from meat to semiconductors are facing transportation issues causing supply squeezes and production bottlenecks.
As demand for energy continues to skyrocket due to the post-COVID recovery, U.S. oil prices hit nearly $80-a-barrel Monday for the first time in nearly seven years. The Federal Reserve last month projected that the 2021 inflation rate will far exceed its 2 percent target and float around 4.2 percent.
In June, the White House established a task force with the purpose of encouraging collaboration between government and private sector firms to rectify the market disequilibriums leading to higher sticker prices for goods and services for Americans.
On Wednesday, President Biden is scheduled to meet with senior officials to address these supply chain constraints.
White House officials told Reuters that inventories may be limited come Christmas time because of the supply shortfalls. Despite shipping delays, microchips shortages, and other problems, many companies are nonetheless expecting holiday shopping booms, especially for retailers like Walmart and Target.
“There will be things that people can’t get,” a senior White House official said.
“At the same time, a lot of these goods are hopefully substitutable by other things … I don’t think there’s any real reason to be panicked, but we all feel the frustration and there’s a certain need for patience to help get through a relatively short period of time,” the official added.
A second official told Reuters that the Biden administration acknowledges that mounting inflation is putting pressure on American wallets at the gas pump, in the grocery store, malls, and other venues.
“We recognize that it has pinched families who are trying to get back to some semblance of normalcy as we move into the later stages of the pandemic,” the source said.
Given Biden’s steadily dropping job performance rating, some Republican lawmakers believe that his poor economic record hardly a year into the presidency will erode support for Democrats and potentially cost them their majority in Congress in the 2022 midterm elections.
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