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Total U.S. coronavirus deaths as of each morning this week: Monday, 713,350; Tuesday, 714,060; Wednesday, 716,479; Thursday, 719,530.
The word “transitory” covers just about every White House conversation about policy and political roadblocks President Biden is navigating these days.
Administration economists assure the public that rising inflation is fleeting and impermanent. The Consumer Price Index jumped 5.4 percent in September, more than expected, which complicates West Wing and Federal Reserve narratives (The Hill).
Gasoline prices have soared, along with food and housing costs. Millions of Americans are quitting jobs, switching careers and moving elsewhere based on beliefs that wages are rising, or perhaps may never rise. COVID-19 is still a pandemic, the delta variant was a surprise, as was the public resistance in many states to free and effective vaccines.
Temporary trouble? For how long? “It’s going to take a little time,” Biden said at the White House on Wednesday.
Efforts by the administration and Congress to tackle overwhelmed ports and infrastructure needs, energy sources and housing and education costs are in limbo. Like many presidents before him, Biden resorts to jawboning U.S. companies, governors, airlines, labor unions, petroleum producers, allies abroad and vaccine manufacturers.
The administration is scrambling to alleviate supply chain pressures it says are temporary, to the extent it can. Administration officials brokered a deal to move the Port of Los Angeles toward 24/7 operations, joining the port in Long Beach, which is already operating around the clock. UPS, Walmart and FedEx, among a list of companies, say they will operate during more off-peak hours to try to alleviate bottlenecks for access to products and parts (The New York Times and The Hill).
The Hill: What you need to know about the bottlenecks.
”If the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act,” the president said on Wednesday, “because our goal is not only to get through this immediate bottleneck, but to address the longstanding weaknesses in our transportation supply chain that this pandemic has exposed.”
The Associated Press: Winter heating bills are set to jump as inflation hits home.
Los Angeles Times analysis: Biden wants to save Christmas. He may not be able to.
“There’s not an off-the-shelf playbook for this kind of situation. I think they’re figuring it out as they go,” said economist Jason FurmanJason FurmanWhite House scrambles to avert supply chain crisis The Fed needs to articulate its framework for inflation Biden signals tough stance on tech with antitrust picks MORE, a former top adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama…