The ‘Absent Buttigieg, C.B. Strike, and Clooney Perspective’ Edition – RedState

It was a bit disconcerting to discover that the Biden administration’s Secretary of Transportation, one Pete Buttigieg, had previously not announced that he would be out of the office beginning mid-August through, well, now. Americans can already see the empty shelves of stores and the maps showing how many ships are attempting to dock in US ports, as well the stalled vessels off the coast.

Buttigieg, it turns out, who is supposed to be working on a “sectoral supply chain assessment” with the secretaries of agriculture and commerce, has been on paid paternity leave. It’s the fact that no one announced it that’s particularly galling. What if there was a major supply chain crisis? Christmas is coming. Why didn’t anyone let the people know?

Buttigieg has been taking paternity leave a lot. According to a Google search, most men are able to find out how long it takes for them to recover from having children. And, perhaps I’m just a callous capitalist, but if you take a job with the responsibilities of a cabinet secretary, it’s incumbent upon you — it’s your duty, in fact — to find a better work-life balance than months-long paid leave. Or it’s not the right fit for what you want in life. These are all decisions that women have to make every day. And it’s not a tragedy. It’s a deal. As my friend Bonchie stated on Twitter, “Life is a trade off.”

In any event, word is he’s back now (how remarkably coincidental that he’s back as the story of his leave is breaking!) and he’ll have plenty to do. Here’s just a taste:

Begin with transportation. Covid is not the only problem. Some Chinese ports are dormant and operating at a reduced capacity due to Covid. The world’s trade in durable goods is putting a lot of strain on ports, vessels and containers. The price of containers has skyrocketed, and can be more than 10 times higher than it was just two years ago. International trade is slowing down significantly and not all of it is lucrative.

In some cases, transport-related services are being rationed, as prices are being kept down — maybe to avoid alienating loyal buyers, or maybe because the sellers are not sure if the current demand shocks are permanent. Again, the net result is that a lot of trade simply isn’t happening in a timely manner.

Pete, welcome to the workplace.

I gab about all that and more, including my thoughts on “Strike” (trailer below), which satisfies my interest in scruffy veterans and British mysteries, and how George Clooney really doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

The show lives on Spotify and you can also find me at iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, FCB Radio’s Spreaker, and Deezer.

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