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Consumer Demand Kinks the Supply Chain

I have some crybaby on Twitter shouting at me that we liberals who don’t like Kristi Noem are responsible for inflation and supply-chain problems.

Yeah, we liberals are to blame… and you conservatives, and everyone else who’s out buying so much stuff:

One major pain point in the supply chain is the backlog at U.S. ports. Late last month, CBS News reported that the Port of Los Angeles, which handles 40% of U.S. imports, is facing a record backlog.

“The American consumer’s buying strength is so strong and epic that we can’t absorb all this cargo into the domestic supply chain,” says Gene Seroka, director of the Port of Los Angeles.

East Coast ports are seeing record volume as well. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently reported that it moved more cargo in August 2021 than in any other August on record [Fox Van Allen, “Holiday Shopping in October: Why Supply Chain Experts Say You Need to Shop Now, Not Later,” CBS News, 2021.10.19].

Lots of Americans with lots of buying power—this sounds like a problem we want to have assuming, unless, of course, you’re one of those radical economic saboteurs who thinks ever-growing consumption has bad consequences for the planet and our souls.

By the way, the 2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey finds Americans anticipate spending an average of $1,463 on holiday shopping. That’s up 5% from 2020 but still down 2% from 2019.

2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey, retrieved 2021.10.26.
2021 Deloitte Holiday Retail Survey, retrieved 2021.10.26.

13 Comments

  1. O 2021-10-26

    Why weren’t the ports updated for known deficiencies between 2016 and 2020? National infrastructure was completely ignored (but promised); now the price is being paid for that atrophy.

  2. Jake 2021-10-26

    O-the Democrat majority in the House and Senate and Joe Biden in the White House are currently trying to correct decades of Republican “wrong” spending or “Non” spending. But 49 Republican Senators and too many Dusty Johnson’s refuse to join any efforts of the majority to address these issues for the American people.
    Somehow, they feel they can be voted back into a powerful majority by simply being “Aginners” instead of “joiners.”
    Witness their cutting funding way back for the IRS so that the rich wouldn’t face as big a chance to be audited. They spent trillions on 2 wars pushed by the GOP – peanuts on national infrastucture. Billions on some planes and tanks the military didn;t want, very little on ports, locks on the Mississippi and other needed infrastructure like broadband.
    Infrastructure=what America needs to prosper, live and succeed.

  3. ska sunka 2021-10-26

    Sadly, too many people don’t understand the basics of economics. The laws of supply and demand are called “laws” because they are real and incontrovertible.

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-10-26

    – Chinese government-owned companies control terminals in the Port of Los Angeles and other West Coast ports, as well as both ends of the Panama Canal.
    – 6 US ports are controlled by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
    – According to the New York Times, foreign-based companies own and/or manage over 30% of US port terminals.
    – According to Time Magazine, over 80% of the terminals in the Port of Los Angeles are run by foreign-owned companies, including the government of Singapore.
    – APL Limited, controlled by the Singapore government, operates ports in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

  5. Mark Anderson 2021-10-26

    You know Porter, when I went to a sculpture conference in San Francisco years ago, it was in a swanky hotel, I stayed there, you couldn’t access the top two floors, reserved for Japanese businessmen. When I went out late to eat one night, I was offered a two for one deal by some beautiful young women just outside. I just went and had my chili. Foreign ownership is what it is and ” businessmen” are all over the world. Both my wife and I grew up in South Dakota and in most ways of the world were still naive central So Daks, even though we’ve lived in Florida for 34 years.

  6. grudznick 2021-10-26

    How was the chili, Mr. Anderson?

  7. Bonnie B Fairbank 2021-10-26

    By golly, I’m just gonna pout if I can’t have my cheap plastic crap, Ben & Jerry’s, diapers, arabica coffee, chicken nuggets and wings, gaming consoles and games, new BMWs, swimming pool parts and chemicals, fish sticks, jerky (?) and eleventy million other TOTALLY NECESSARY consumer goods ‘Mericans demand.
    Christmas will be ruined, just ruined. *sobs*

  8. Porter Lansing 2021-10-26

    You know, Mark Anderson … #FloridaMan Enough, said.

    I’m from Sanford, FL and we rarely went to the gulf side.

    Except my Uncle Jim, who liked the cigars in Ybor City.

  9. Joe 2021-10-27

    FWIW I have found great quality home furnishings at fire sale prices on Craigslist and FB Marketplace – mid-century walnut coffee and side tables for $100-200, a Design Within Reach living room set that retailed for $10K, for $1K (granted, this was in Seattle and the Twin Cities but deals can be found everywhere). For lots of home goods there is no need to purchase new, overpriced, fiberboard junk.

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27

    RETAIL ALERT!
    – It requires less than an MBA to understand that retailers need to recoup their lost revenue from 2020-21.
    – Delaying deliveries at the ports (few of which are controlled by entities under the prodding influence of President Biden) justifies raising prices, a lot.
    – Inflation doesn’t hurt retail and retail must sink or swim, now that the pandemic subsidies are gone.
    – “We The People” just want our Christmas stuff and if it costs more, who are we to demand fairness? Hmmmm?
    – This is why ships are parked in the bay, waiting to be unloaded.
    – There’s no other rational explanation, when this amount of cargo is no more than was normal, before Covid.

  11. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27

    PS … A little quick research shows that wholesale prices are not going up.
    In fact, since IMPOTUS is gone, business relations with China are back to normal or better, than before Covid.
    Retailers are raising prices because they’re hurting and reports to stockholders don’t care about inflation; they want profits, NOW.

  12. Mark Anderson 2021-10-27

    Chili is chili grudz, excepting the little place near the liquor store in Vermintown. Ybor city is great Porter, spent some time there in the past. Went to great parties at Theodore Wujcik’s, the bottom floor was his studio and when he had an opening well..he was known as the punk professor. He could draw extremely well too. Not to be repetitious but he started as a printmaker. Ebor has most of the bars in Tampa and some great musical venues, too many to name. Eventually we just stayed at a good hotel in Ebor, so no driving.

  13. Porter Lansing 2021-10-27

    Good stories, Mark.

    Lansing’s are Daytona people and also the beach across the jetty, New Smyrna.

    Sanford is equidistant between the coasts.

    We’re famous for being so racist that minor leaguer, Jackie Robinson had to escape a lynch mop, in the middle of the night.

    Also, Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman and an all white Sanford jury said, “So what? He shouldn’t have been in a white neighborhood, anyway.”

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