One of the major economic stories flying under the radar right now (far behind the inflation report yesterday and the subsequent stock market tumble) is the fact that a major railroad worker strike is set to start as soon as midnight this Friday night, and it could all be Joe Biden’s fault.
According to some reports, while workers are generally well-paid, the strike is actually focused on quality of life, which is pretty miserable for those workers. Fixed time, lack of overtime time due to classification loopholes, and miserable experiences have workers ready to go on strike until things get better. And while eight of the twelve unions at the negotiating table have agreed not to strike, the remaining four represent enough of the workforce to trigger a major shutdown in the U.S.
The Biden administration is jumping in to try to prevent that strike, and they may still be able to do so. However, according to a new report from Fox Business, this may have been a problem created by the Biden administration for political purposes.
See, the President’s mediation board in June decided to just get up and walk away from the negotiating table, which left the two sides – the rail companies and the unions – to fend for themselves. And, it hasn’t gone very well. But now there is speculation that they walked away in order to create an issue for Biden to “resolve” ahead of the midterms for another “victory” going into the election season.
Marc Scribner, a senior transportation policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, says the timing of the potential strike was coordinated and may not help the administration.
“That this might occur right before the midterm elections is entirely self-inflicted by the Biden administration, where two of President Biden’s National Mediation Board [NMB] members took the bizarre step in June of terminating board-guided mediation two months early and starting the 90-day countdown to a possible rail strike,” Scribner told FOX Business, calling the move “unprecedented.”
Scribner says the mood on Capitol Hill is very negative toward such actions because it puts lawmakers in the crosshairs — particularly when two major rail union holdouts are warning Congress not to get involved.
“This was clearly designed to force a flash right before the midterm elections,” Scribner argues, speculating that the administration knows it could rely on a Congress with unified Democratic control. He added, “But I don’t think they thought it through all that well because that puts a lot of pressure on Democrats facing tough races.”
If that is indeed the case, then there are a lot of Democrats in purple districts and swing states who need to sit Biden down and explain to him that he needs to fire literally everybody in his administration and start over. Making that sort of political calculation in such a tight election year is mind-numbingly stupid, and anyone who considered such a ploy should not be in the political world any longer than it takes to pack up one’s things and walk out the door.
But, even if the NMB didn’t walk away for political reasons, the fact that they did so at all has three very big consequences.
- It puts the Biden administration under considerable pressure to go in and try to fix things, taking away from their ability to concentrate on other issues impacting the United States.
- It puts Democrats in Congress on the defensive, having to now get involved and, at worst, giving them another potentially devastation economic crisis ahead of their re-election.
- Most importantly, it puts the American consumer under considerable pressure as an already problematic supply chain is essentially shut down, forcing higher costs and more shortages.
See, a shutdown would cost upward of $2 billion per day. Not only that, the other modes of transportation needed to make up for shut down railroads would not be able to keep up. For example, you would need more than 450,000 more trucks at least to transport goods, but the trucking industry is already facing an 80,000 driver shortage.
Those are pretty devastating numbers, given how much inflation is already taking its toll on the American consumer.
Once again, the Biden administration has created a mess that they seem truly incapable of cleaning up.