As the Biden administration celebrates recent economic progress, is the supply chain crisis truly under control?
President Joe Biden on Wednesday proclaimed that “Packages are moving, gifts are being delivered and shelves are not empty” after receiving a progress report from his cabinet. Retail inventories are reportedly up 3% from last year, and Biden said delivery times for postal services “are faster than before the pandemic.” He also noted that gas prices in 21 states “are at their historic averages before the pandemic.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki began her Wednesday press briefing by saying that “As the New York Times said today, Christmas gifts are arriving on time this year. Good news: We’ve saved Christmas!” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday that $241 million would be distributed to ports to help alleviate clogged supply chains. In a recent poll from CNN, nearly 80% of respondents said rising costs and supply chain problems are major issues.
Reports across the spectrum highlighted Biden’s comments, but with different framing. Left-rated sources focused more on the recent economic improvements he noted. Right-rated sources often mentioned Psaki’s remarks alongside survey data that suggests more Americans than ever don’t plan to buy Christmas gifts this year due to inflation. Some also highlighted big companies missing earnings estimates and high housing prices as signs that supply chains and inflation remain major problems. Center-rated sources were also split, with some leading with Biden’s remarks about the crisis being averted and others covering continued issues, such as food shortages at schools.