We’re hearing a lot about a massive supply chain problem whereby we do not have enough port workers and truck drivers to unload and ship materials throughout the country. Imports are radically up, and exports lag woefully behind, a telltale sign of problems with trade and the economy. Experts claim this supply chain problem will have an adverse effect on our upcoming holiday shopping season. To compensate, the Biden Administration proudly announced a deal to keep certain ports open around the clock, but the fact remains there are worker shortages.
Let’s be clear, under normal circumstances we would have enough longshoremen and truck drivers to maintain the supply chain, but these are unusual times. To illustrate, inflation is up, and as Bloomberg reports, “It now costs as much as $25,000 to import a 40-foot container from Asia, up from less than $2,000 two years ago.” The fact fuel has spiraled upwards since the beginning of the year also adds to the cost of living.
Nonetheless, we now have bottlenecks at our ports to accept imports, (with empty ships leaving with our exports), and we have an immediate need for manpower. The most obvious remedy is to use the military for both unloading ships and trucking. Some might argue this is a waste of military talent. Not really, as they have been doing such tasks for a long time. Nor is it without precedent.
I find it interesting most Americans have already forgotten President Ronald Reagan’s problem with FAA air-traffic controllers back in 1981. As a quick history lesson, this occurred just seven months into Reagan’s first term. At the time, the Professional Air-Traffic Controllers Association (PATCO) had gone on strike over wanting federal pay increases and a shorter work week. Almost immediately, this caused pandemonium in commercial flight schedules with many delays and cancellations. This brought the country to the brink of closing down air transportation.
Angered, President Reagan warned the members of PATCO to return to work or face termination. The union defiantly resisted, thereby causing Reagan to fire over 11,000 air-traffic controllers. Further, these people became ineligible to be re-hired. Now, without air-traffic controllers, the President called on the military to replace the union until new controllers could be found. It was a slow process, which affected business worldwide, but proved to be an effective means to solve the problem. Flights resumed and the country returned to normal.
This is precisely the type of action we need today. We may not have a defiant union to deal with, but we do have an immediate crunch-problem in terms of workers. If the Biden Administration is serious about fixing the problem, bringing in the military on an interim basis is a no-brainer. Think about it; what is the point of opening up our ports 24/7 if we lack the manpower to unload the ships and truck the merchandise? That is like buying a gun without any bullets; it’s totally useless.
Keep the Faith!
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