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The President that Stole Christmas

December 15, 2021

By Josh Orlaski

After a year of COVID-induced shutdowns and restrictions that destroyed livelihoods and ruined holidays, most Americans were hoping to have a “normal” Christmas this year. Unfortunately, the lack of leadership and active policy malpractice from President Biden and his Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, has put this wish in jeopardy. The actions of the Biden Administration have only worsened the labor shortage and the supply chain bottleneck that the American economy has faced. The results of these decisions could cause major disappointment for American children this Christmas. The Wall Street Journal reported, for instance, that there is a severe professional Santa shortage, with some companies seeing over a 120% increase in requests this season, but a drop of 15% in available Santas. The Grinch himself could not have envisioned a better way to rob children of Christmas cheer. Through policies like increased government handouts and a tyrannical vaccine mandate, America looks to be a far cry from “Building Back Better.” Like the Grinch who stole Christmas from Whoville, President Biden will be ruining millions of Christmas celebrations across the country due to missing presents, expensive decorations, and a hurting economy that will prevent “normalcy” for many Americans.

At the heart of the problems facing the country this holiday season is the lack of workers in our shipping, transportation, and retail industries. While the initial increase in those not working or actively seeking employment during the beginning of COVID was expected, most employers have returned to hiring capacity, and much of the blame on the current shortage of laborers can be placed on the Biden Administration’s agenda. Government imposed work disincentives, such as extended unemployment benefits, are perpetuating our labor shortage. Federal subsidization of state unemployment benefits that lasted much longer than the peak of the pandemic lockdowns encouraged those who had dropped out of the workforce to stay at home.

While the additional federal unemployment benefits have finally ended – something that is undoubtedly for the long-term benefit of the American worker – the Biden Administration appears to still be set on making our labor problems worse. Part of the Biden “Build Back Better” agenda includes continued welfare benefits and expanded child tax credits without work requirements. This would increase dependence on government benefits while simultaneously turning the Internal Revenue Service into another source of welfare by providing cash payments to those who did not pay income taxes in the first place. This is an overwhelmingly unpopular policy.

One of the most egregious examples of the Biden Administration sabotaging the labor force is his planned infamous vaccine mandate. Two-thirds of workers are employed in businesses affected by the mandate and thus may find themselves having to choose between their freedom and their paycheck, which could lead to millions of workers to be forced out of their jobs due to this government overreach. Many of these Americans serve in critical roles in our supply chain.

Recently, a coalition of associations representing those in trucking, manufacturing, warehousing, and other similar professions signed an open letter to the Biden Administration stating the harm that would befall the American people if the private sector vaccine mandate is implemented. In their letter, they estimate that companies that are covered by the mandate could see a loss of 37% of their truck drivers. The Nation is already short 80,000 drivers, and further losses would worsen the already bottlenecked supply chain.

Americans will surely notice the impacts of these policies on their pocketbooks when celebrating this Christmas season. Labor shortages and a clogged supply chain have caused a decrease in the number of both live and artificial Christmas trees, and experts predict that the average tree will cost between 10% to 30% more, with a smaller selection.

However, not meeting Santa and spending more on a Christmas tree are not the only ways American families will be frustrated this Christmas. A crippled supply chain has also created severe headaches for both consumers and retailers. Business owners are unable to guarantee inventory for their customers, and parents cannot be sure their children’s gifts will arrive by Christmas Eve. Missing revenue, angry customers, and disappointed children is a recipe for a frustrating Christmas season for millions of Americans across the country.

While the Whos in Whoville had the benefit of a repentant Grinch, it appears that the Biden Administration and liberals in Congress are doubling down on the policies that have shrunk our labor force, raised transportation costs, and frozen our supply chain. The American people deserve better.

Josh Orlaski serves as a Policy Analyst, Center for the American Worker and Center for Education Opportunity for the America First Policy Institute (AFPI).