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As Americans Feel Pinch of Rising Costs, Biden Chief of Staff Thinks They're Just 'High Class Problems'

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Empty shelves in stores, record-breaking backlogs at ports, and a severe shortage of truck drivers – the breakdown in our supply chain is hurting the economy and increasing costs for everyday Americans.

President Biden met virtually with CEO's and leaders of the country's biggest ports on Wednesday as the problems in the supply chain fester. 

Americans are already feeling the strain of higher prices and shipping delays which the White House and businesses across the country are warning could go on for many more months.

To help get things moving again, Biden says he's brokered an agreement for the port of Los Angeles to become a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation.  

"This is the first key step to move the entire freight transportation system and logistical supply chain to a nationwide 24/7 system," he said.

Big retailers and shipping companies are also pledging to expand their hours. 

L.A. and Long Beach account for 40% of shipping containers that enter the U.S. Both are suffering from record-breaking backlogs.

"What happens with the railroads in the Midwest, and warehouses across the country affects the number of ships that everyone sees in the harbor, said Frank Ponce de Leon, International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

High consumer demand, a shortage of truck drivers and factory workers, and other supply chain issues are also keeping many items off store shelves with shortages expected to continue through the holidays.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is telling Americans not to panic. "I think there's no reason for consumers to panic about the absence of goods that they're going to want to acquire at Christmas," she said. 

The White House has launched a task force to examine the supply chain issues. 

Economists also warn delays and higher prices may stifle consumer spending in an already fragile economic recovery. 

The latest inflation reading shows that prices rose by 5.4% in September with the biggest increases in food, shelter, and gas. According to a recent Bankrate survey, 89% of adults have noticed rising prices, and 66% say those extra costs are hurting their financial situation. 

Meanwhile, President Biden's Chief of Staff Ronald Klain is being accused of making light of the plight of millions of Americans being hit in the pocketbook by the higher prices.

Klain retweeted a Harvard professor who said Americans are just facing "high class problems".

The GOP's rapid response director Tommy Pigott tweeted, "Struggling to pay for food, fuel, and housing because of rising prices is not a 'high class problem'. Biden is making everyone worse off, but instead of stopping the damage, their strategy is to try to gaslight Americans."


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About The Author


Tara Mergener is an award-winning journalist and expert storyteller who spent the majority of her career as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She worked at CBS Newspath for many years, reporting for all CBS platforms, including CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the nation. Tara also reported at CNN, Hearst’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was a contributor on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren. Tara has won dozens of awards for her investigative and political reporting, including Headliner Foundation’s Best Reporter in Texas, multiple Edward R. Murrow awards, Texas Associated Press