By Tom Basile
In just the last few months, the Biden administration has resorted to begging nations like socialist Venezuela for more oil. Now, the White House is scrambling the military to get baby formula from overseas. It’s another embarrassing mess for the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.
The Biden administration knew in February that disruptions at the Abbott facility would likely cause shortages, yet it did nothing to address it or prepare the public. Once again we’re watching government create a problem, then attempt to fix it with smoke and mirrors and pat themselves on the back for their ingenuity.
Unfortunately for Americans, the level of inaction and willful blindness is far worse than just the baby formula shortage. Like inflation, formula shortages are not limited, “high class problems” as White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain once posited. They are a consequence of government’s abuse of power and bad public policy.
Case and point: Only four companies share 90% of the baby formula market because of government regulations and programs that limit competition. We have 17.5% import tariffs on baby formula, and we limit choice through welfare contracts that give producers a massive market share in states where they are the preferred vendor. Government programs give preferential treatment to WIC recipients and even illegal immigrants over other Americans.
The Left are loathe to lift burdens on manufacturing to increase competition and consumer choice. They’re also not interested in addressing the impact of welfare monopolies.
To be fair, Biden didn’t create this environment. Globalism, high corporate taxation and left-wing policies have led to supply chains that are massive, cumbersome, inefficient and risky. But the president did vow to address “supply chain vulnerabilities and congestion … to speed up the movement of goods, and lower costs.”
The White House worked for months on a strategy to get products moving, but when its so-called FLOW plan was released, it took no major steps to address the larger systemic problems.
It’s hard, after all, to build a workable plan when the shipping industry is making record profits off the supply chain crisis.
Biden says onshoring production of more products is a priority but hasn’t incentivized businesses to increase manufacturing here. The far-left Biden agenda includes paying off student loans, prioritizing the debt relief for philosophy of basket weaving studies majors. It should be incentivizing Americans to get CDL training and other workforce development measures to address our national trucker and rail worker shortage.
Today, none of the top shipping lines globally are American companies. Our Merchant Marine consists of a mere 80 U.S.-flagged ships. Biden has no plans to help restart America’s shipping industry.
Supply chain crises are happening because we abdicated control over our own economic destiny.
A lack of coherent strategy, policy innovation and overall U.S. leadership isn’t just perilous when it comes to American foreign policy. Weak leadership bereft of ideas has an impact on our economy and the quality of life of every American.
Biden’s latest bungle over baby formula should be a catalyst for larger systemic changes that lead to greater American economic resiliency, not phony plans meant to prevent the sinking of a beleaguered president’s political ship.
Tom Basile is the Host of ‘America Right Now’ on Newsmax, author, columnist and former Bush administration official.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.