Biden is ridiculed online as #EmptyShelvesJoe as frustrated shoppers complain about shortages 💥👩💥

Frustrated shoppers complaining about shortages of everyday products in their local stores are attacking President Joe Biden online with the hashtag ‘Empty Shelves Joe’ as the US faces severe supply chain problems that could stretch into the new year.

Dozens of cargo ships carrying hundreds of thousands of containers of goods from China and Asia are waiting to dock in California as concern grows about likely Christmas shortages. Some retailers such as Costco and Walmart are limiting sales of toilet paper in some areas and toy company CEOs are telling parents to buy their kids’ Christmas gifts now to avoid disappointment.

There are similar problems with homegrown goods that can’t be transported quickly enough by truckers or on freight trains.

The problems – which have tormented business owners around the world for months – are being laid bare by American shoppers who, when confronted with poorly stocked stores and rising prices on the items that they can find, are sharing photos on social media.

Consumers are also complaining that they have to go to the grocery store every day to find basic items that they previously could have purchased in one shop.

Biden on Wednesday acknowledged the concerns and intervened by announcing that the Port of Los Angeles – North America’s busiest container terminal – would start 24-hour operations to help ease bottlenecks that are choking commerce and pushing up prices. Those round-the-clock operations began on Thursday.

Until the bottlenecks in the supply chain are removed, the complaints about shortages will mount.

The move was too little, too late, for Republicans who accused the government of waiting months to try to fix the problem.

On Thursday it was revealed by Politico that as the crisis mounted, Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave in August and September after he and husband Chasten adopted twins. He is now back at work in a reduced capacity and will ‘continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his husband and take care of his new children’, a Department for Transportation spokesman said.

Frustrated shoppers complaining about shortages of everyday products in their local stores are attacking President Joe Biden online with the hashtag 'Empty Shelves Joe' as the US faces severe supply chain problems that could stretch into the new year

Frustrated shoppers complaining about shortages of everyday products in their local stores are attacking President Joe Biden online with the hashtag ‘Empty Shelves Joe’ as the US faces severe supply chain problems that could stretch into the new year

Some retailers like Costco and Walmart are limiting the amount of toilet paper in some stores. This photograph was posted on Twitter by a man in Illinois

Some retailers like Costco and Walmart are limiting the amount of toilet paper in some stores. This photograph was posted on Twitter by a man in Illinois

Backlash: Biden’s critics have accused him of mismanagement as Americans feel the effects of a global supply chain bottleneck

In his Wednesday announcement, Biden said: ‘With the holidays coming up, you might be wondering if gifts you plan to buy will arrive on time? I know you’re hearing a lot about something called supply chains and how hard it is to get a range of things from a toaster to sneakers to bicycles to bedroom furniture.’

He called new agreements with ports, unions, and shippers ‘a sign of major progress in moving goods from manufacturers to a store and to your front door.’

But earlier on Wednesday, Jen Psaki, the White House Press Secretary, had sparked alarm by saying: ‘We are not the postal service or UPS or FedEx. We cannot guarantee. What we can do is use every lever at the federal government’s disposal to reduce delays, to ensure that we are addressing bottlenecks in the system, including ports and the need for them to be open longer hours.’

The shortages are due to issues in the global supply chain, but Biden’s critics have accused him of mismanagement.

Senator Rick Scott called on Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Senate Transportation Committee member Cynthia Lummis told the Washington Examiner: ‘We’re well over a year into this, and I’m concerned that the Biden administration seems more focused on pushing Congress to massively expand the federal bureaucracy rather than using their existing authorities to help American businesses and consumers get back to normal.’

Representative Kevin Brady, ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee, added that the administration’s actions finally addressing these issues is ‘months late and more than a dollar short’. He claimed the White House has been in ‘denial’ related to supply chain problems.

‘We’ve heard a lot of talk and a lot of formation of task forces but nothing concrete to address this,’ the Texas Republican said. ‘My first advice to Secretary Buttigieg is stop making it worse and tackle the real issues,’ Brady said, accusing Biden’s team of making labor shortage issues worse by implementing a vaccine mandate for companies with more than 100 employees.

Jack Posobiec, an alt-right activist and commentator, noted that ‘EmptyShelvesJoe’ was the number one trending topic on Twitter.

Donald Trump Jr commented: ‘Yikes!’

Some consumers are seeing shortages of pet food as evidenced by this photograph posted on Twitter from Syracuse, New York under the hashtag EmptyShelvesJoe

Some consumers are seeing shortages of pet food as evidenced by this photograph posted on Twitter from Syracuse, New York under the hashtag EmptyShelvesJoe

Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist with Washington DC-based Full Measure News, tweeted a picture of empty shelves, noting: 'My grocery. There's plenty of food it's not as if we will starve. But I've never seen empty shelves like this in my lifetime.'

Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist with Washington DC-based Full Measure News, tweeted a picture of empty shelves, noting: ‘My grocery. There’s plenty of food it’s not as if we will starve. But I’ve never seen empty shelves like this in my lifetime.’

Attkisson posted photos of rows of empty shelves

Attkisson posted photos of rows of empty shelves

When the chips are down: An empty snack aisle at a grocery store

When the chips are down: An empty snack aisle at a grocery store

A shop owner in Arizona shared photos of his family's store without the usual supplies. '#EmptyShelvesJoe #FJBiden #LetsGoBrandon Here’s our family owned hardware store. My father’s been here for 35 years and he said it’s NEVER been like this. Smh.'

A shop owner in Arizona shared photos of his family’s store without the usual supplies. ‘#EmptyShelvesJoe #FJBiden #LetsGoBrandon Here’s our family owned hardware store. My father’s been here for 35 years and he said it’s NEVER been like this. Smh.’

Empty shelves: An Arizona grocery store run by the same family for 35 years now has empty shelves

Empty shelves: An Arizona grocery store run by the same family for 35 years now has empty shelves

Country music singer John Rich tweeted: 'Hard to mess up a country any faster than #EmptyShelvesJoe but I have to say, he's brought unity to much of the country by way of getting the majority of Americans to give the big thumbs down and chant #LetsGoBrandon from coast to coast...In that respect, Joe is a unifier.' The 'Lets Go Brandon' chant has in the past two weeks become a rallying call for opponents of the president, starting after a TV presenter misheard a Nascar crowd on October 2 yelling: 'F*** Joe Biden' - and told her viewers they were chanting: 'Let's go Brandon.'

Country music singer John Rich tweeted: ‘Hard to mess up a country any faster than #EmptyShelvesJoe but I have to say, he’s brought unity to much of the country by way of getting the majority of Americans to give the big thumbs down and chant #LetsGoBrandon from coast to coast…In that respect, Joe is a unifier.’ The ‘Lets Go Brandon’ chant has in the past two weeks become a rallying call for opponents of the president, starting after a TV presenter misheard a Nascar crowd on October 2 yelling: ‘F*** Joe Biden’ – and told her viewers they were chanting: ‘Let’s go Brandon.’

Country music singer John Rich tweeted: ‘Hard to mess up a country any faster than #EmptyShelvesJoe but I have to say, he’s brought unity to much of the country by way of getting the majority of Americans to give the big thumbs down and chant #LetsGoBrandon from coast to coast…In that respect, Joe is a unifier.’

The ‘Lets Go Brandon’ chant has in the past two weeks become a rallying call for opponents of the president, starting after a TV presenter misheard a Nascar crowd on October 2 yelling: ‘F*** Joe Biden’ – and told her viewers they were chanting: ‘Let’s go Brandon.’

Sharyl Attkisson, a journalist with Washington DC-based Full Measure News, tweeted a picture of empty shelves, noting: ‘My grocery. There’s plenty of food it’s not as if we will starve. But I’ve never seen empty shelves like this in my lifetime.’

Pearson Sharp, with One America News, tweeted a parody logo for Biden, with the E resembling empty shelves.

A shop owner in Arizona shared photos of his family’s store without the usual supplies.

‘#EmptyShelvesJoe #FJBiden #LetsGoBrandon Here’s our family owned hardware store.

‘My father’s been here for 35 years and he said it’s NEVER been like this. Smh.’

A man in Illinois tweeted a photo of a sparsely-stacked warehouse in Illinois, and said: ‘No toilet paper again. Thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe!’

A woman by the name of Laurie said: ‘Just went food shopping…again…thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe.

‘I really love having to go every day now in order to find what used to take one trip.’

Republican politicians were quick to join in.

The House Republicans’ account on Twitter tweeted: ‘Top tending topic on Twitter right now is #EmptyShelvesJoe.’

Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republicans Conference, and a congresswoman for New York, referenced struggles to get supplies for her newborn son Sam, born on August 31.

‘Ask new Moms how Joe Biden’s economy is going… Diaper prices are surging & Size 1 or 2 diapers are incredibly limited on grocery store shelves!

‘Joe Biden has caused an economic crisis in America.’

Jody Hice, a congressman for Georgia, tweeted a meme of Biden in a Game of Thrones chair, with the slogan: ‘Winter is coming.’

He tweeted: ’72 days till Christmas and it’s going to be a budget buster…

‘Gas prices are skyrocketing. Airlines are in chaos. Heating costs are up. Toy shortages are looming.

‘And it’s all thanks to Joe Biden!’

Biden reached a deal on Wednesday with unions and business leaders from Walmart, FedEx, UPS and others to expand operations at the port.

Once implemented the proposed changes could increase output by more than 3,500 shipping containers per week, White House officials said.

‘Traditionally, our ports have only been open during the week, Monday through Friday,’ said Biden on Wednesday.

‘And they’re generally closed down at nights and on weekends.

‘By staying open seven days a week through the night and on the weekends, the port of Los Angeles will open over 60 extra hours a week.

‘That will almost double the number of hours that the port is open for business than earlier this year.’

Still, dozens of ships carrying hundreds of thousands of containers remained at anchor outside the harbor, waiting for a berth on docks packed to capacity.

Many will wait more than 10 days.

Furthermore, the consumer-price index rose by 0.4 per cent from August to September, according to data released by the Labor Department on Wednesday – a 5.4 per cent year-over increase, the highest in 13 years.

While slower than June’s record-setting 0.9 per cent increase, it likely won’t be enough to turn the tide of inflation in time for Christmas.

Biden’s chief of staff, Ronald Klain, angered some by claiming on Wednesday evening that the current U.S. economic issues, including inflation and supply chain delays, are just ‘high class problems’.

Jason Furman, a Harvard Economics professor and former chairman of President Barack Obama‘s Council of Economic Advisers, tweeted: ‘Most of the economic problems we’re facing (inflation, supply chains, etc.) are high class problems.’

‘We wouldn’t have had them if the unemployment rate was still 10 percent,’ he added of earlier rates.

‘We would instead have had a much worse problem.’

Klain retweeted the post along with, ‘This’ and two emoji fingers pointing down to the tweet – indicating his agreement.

Asked on Thursday about the tweet, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that Klain’s Twitter ‘is not a top priority at this point in time.’

She added: ‘The chief of staff is out there speaking on his own accord … as any chief of staff does.

‘I think it’s also important for anyone here to be able to tout points that they find interesting that’s the purpose of public speech.’

She then explained Klain’s reasoning.

‘The point here is some of these critics … we don’t know if they’re saying that what they thought was great was when the unemployment rate was double what it is today, or when people were locked in their homes and therefore gas prices were lower.

‘We’re at this point because the unemployment rate has come down and has been cut in half because people are buying more goods, because people are traveling, because demand is up, and because the economy is turning back on.’

Economies largely shuttered for chunks of the last year by governments trying to tamp down the coronavirus are reopening, and demand is booming – but supply is struggling to keep up.

Globalization has created havoc, with supply chains that stretch from resource extraction in places such Australia, to production in Asian manufacturing hubs, to shoppers in the West.

Between every stage, goods are loaded into box containers and transported on ships, trains and trucks through ports and stations.

If any one of these steps breaks down, the whole chain can grind to a halt.

During the pandemic, almost every one of them did.

And even as things start to get back to normal in the United States, the effects are still being felt.

‘Everything is back ordered, all the vessels are in the ocean,’ truck driver Tony Nguyen told AFP.

‘I’ve been driving for the port for like almost 10 years, but this year it’s terrible. I’ve never seen that before.’

The consumer price index rose 5.4 percent in September from a year ago, up slightly from August's gain of 5.3 percent and matching the increases in June and July

The consumer price index rose 5.4 percent in September from a year ago, up slightly from August’s gain of 5.3 percent and matching the increases in June and July

Prices are up on a wide range of key goods as high inflation continues to hit US consumers

Prices are up on a wide range of key goods as high inflation continues to hit US consumers

Klain was responding to a tweet from Obama's former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who said problems would be 'much worse' if the unemployment rate was still 10%

Klain was responding to a tweet from Obama’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who said problems would be ‘much worse’ if the unemployment rate was still 10%

The megaports of Asia - like this one in Qingdao - have long operated on a 24-hour basis. On Thursday the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach - the busiest in North America - began working around the clock to unload a significant backlog of cargo

The megaports of Asia – like this one in Qingdao – have long operated on a 24-hour basis. On Thursday the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – the busiest in North America – began working around the clock to unload a significant backlog of cargo

Lengthy supply chains start with miners and take in producers, middlemen, retailers and finally shoppers, all of them with transportation in between

Lengthy supply chains start with miners and take in producers, middlemen, retailers and finally shoppers, all of them with transportation in between

Around a quarter of a trillion dollars worth of goods will have passed through Los Angeles port by the end of December 2021

Around a quarter of a trillion dollars worth of goods will have passed through Los Angeles port by the end of December 2021

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund warned that supply chain disruptions are driving price increases, as it trimmed its growth outlook in an increasingly uneven global recovery.

In the United States, consumer prices were up more than 5 per cent in September.

There are several factors behind the shortages of raw materials and finished goods now plaguing retailers.

These include factory outages in countries that have imposed lockdowns due to COVID-19, unexpected demand spikes for some goods as behavior changed during the pandemic, and a labor crunch.

But the backlog at U.S. ports has been a major contributing factor.

Nowhere is that more evident than the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach – the main gateways for Asia, where thousands of multi-colored shipping containers are stacked, processed and shuffled around every day.

The Los Angeles port alone has handled more than 7.3 million TEUs so far this year. A TEU is the industry’s standard measurement for cargo, and stands for Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit.

Each year, more than a quarter of a trillion dollars’ worth of goods pass through the port – a big chunk of the entire U.S. economy.

‘What happens in Los Angeles and other West Coast ports reverberates all the way through the country,’ said Agriculture Transportation Coalition executive director Peter Friedmann.

The World Bank estimates 8.5 per cent of global container shipping is stalled in or around ports.

That congestion is renewing talk of onshoring – bringing production back home.

‘Never again should our country and our economy be unable to make critical products we need because we don’t have access to materials we need,’ said Biden this week.

‘Never again shall we have to rely too heavily on one company or one country.’

Supply chain chaos forces schools in Alabama city to ask parents to give their kids breakfast at home and send them to class with snacks – otherwise they risk going hungry due to lack of food deliveries

Satisfying picky eaters and allergy sufferers could be a challenge with schools' limited menu

Satisfying picky eaters and allergy sufferers could be a challenge with schools’ limited menu

Parents in multiple Alabama school districts have been warned to give their children breakfast and sent them to school with snacks because supply chain shortages have badly-affected food deliveries.

District leaders are asking parents to feed their own kids and pack snacks before sending them to class as employees work around-the-clock to keep pantries stocked.

The situation is so dire in the state’s Dothan City Schools district that officials are mulling switching to virtual learning for part of the week to ‘alleviate the stress of our food supplies.’

It’s not a problem unique to Alabama as supply and labor shortages cripple cafeterias throughout the nation.

A principal in Philadelphia ordered 400 pizzas for her elementary students who otherwise would have gone hungry when a scheduled food order went undelivered last month. In other states, school staffers have resorted to doing their own grocery shopping for students.

‘Essentially what we have here is a perfect storm,’ Stacy Koppen, nutrition services director for Minnesota’s St. Paul Public Schools district, told KSTP.com. ‘We have a shortage of raw gradients, we have a shortage of people in the workforce, at the same time everyone needs more of everything.’

Dothan superintendent Dennis Coe said labor and raw material shortages are to blame affecting the district’s ability to ‘feed our children each day.’

The shortage is causing menu shakeups as districts struggle to make meals with limited ingredients.

‘As we prepare to do everything we can, your support would be greatly appreciated by being prepared to send your children to school with their packed lunch,’ Coe said in a letter to parents.

‘As a last resort, we may also ask that you prepare to have virtual/remote school days a few days out of the week to alleviate the stress of our food supplies. Rest assured, breakfast and lunch at no charge will continue to be available to all students.’

Supply chain challenges left Decatur City Schools district without enough food in late August, forcing staffers to drive about 80 miles to Birmingham to buy three truckloads of groceries, the district said.

Alexander City Schools is asking parents to feed their children breakfast and pack a snack before sending them to school.

The district serves breakfast and lunch daily but said it hasn’t received its food deliveries for weeks because of driver, supply, and warehouse employee shortages.

‘When supplies do arrive, we do not always receive what we have requested; therefore altering the menus,’ the district said in an October 9 Facebook post.

‘This is a situation that is frustrating for you as a parent, and for us as well as our ability to feed our students is being greatly impacted.’

Meantime, Scottsboro City Schools announced in August that it would stop offering its popular ‘crispitos’ for lunch due to a shortage of tortillas and workers.

‘It will be sad when we serve the last crispito that we have on inventory,’ the district said in a Facebook post.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in April that it would bankroll free lunches for school children across the nation through the current school year, regardless of parental income.

The gesture increased the amount of lunch orders by about 20 percent in Elmore County Schools, according to child nutrition director Cayce Davis.

Biden is ridiculed online as #EmptyShelvesJoe as frustrated shoppers complain about shortages

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