June 25, 2022

The blame game

One wonders why anyone wants to be president. It’s pretty much a thankless job; few accolades for good efforts and results, and constant blame for every crisis that occurs during one’s presidency.

President Biden absolutely cannot catch a break. One crisis after another has befallen his presidency, and of course, his adversaries are quick to blame him for every single one that comes along.

Take the baby formula crisis for example. Biden and his administration are being blamed by some for the sudden shortfall of formula. A few news outlets are even reporting he was “caught flat-footed” by this latest crisis. Fox hosts are accusing his administration of sending baby formula for migrant babies at the border, deliberately taking it away from American babies. Pretty silly, but it fits into their constant Biden-bashing narrative.

The president’s number one concerns are with the war in Ukraine and the war on inflation. Shortage of baby formula is serious and scary for parents of infants, but the government cannot produce baby formula. It is produced by private companies and there are only four major companies in the U.S. that make the formula. The biggest one, Abbott, had been producing 43% of the supply, but has been shut down for months when the Food and Drug Agency recalled their formula. Catastrophic shipping problems that have severely messed up the supply chain have added to the nationwide shortage.

Authorities also point to changes in NAFTA (North America Trade Agreement Act) trade policies negotiated by former President Trump as another reason baby formula from Canada isn’t being shipped to the U.S. They say there is plenty of formula in Canada that could be shipped here but tariffs put in place in 2020 set limits for imports.

When Biden entered office, he immediately tackled the COVID pandemic that was completely out of control, and he sped up the vaccination program that had never gotten off the ground. He was getting things turned around dramatically when the Delta variant surfaced. All of a sudden, the country was completely immersed in the pandemic again, and numbers of infected and dying soared.

Next, it became evident that the supply chain wasn’t working for all sorts of goods now demanded by consumers. As the American people emerged from the pandemic and began working and trying to buy things again, they were frustrated that many products were not available. It was obvious the major cause of the supply chain crisis was the pandemic, but it was politically expedient to blame the president.

Meanwhile, everyone is frustrated that legislation rarely gets passed, gun control never goes anywhere, voting rights grow weaker in many states and reproductive rights are facing an enormous threat. And worst of all, for many Americans, inflation that drives up prices for gas and food and most other goods is running amuck.

There’s little a president can do about gas prices since the supply of oil is controlled by gigantic international oil companies, but Biden is doing all he can by releasing a million barrels of domestic oil. American companies could produce more oil because they already have the leases on thousands of acres of land, but the truth is big oil companies are already making huge profits without drilling for more.

Today’s prices are often compared to their low rates during the pandemic when no one was driving much or flying. It’s not a fair comparison, but that doesn’t stop critics from making it.

Progressives criticize Biden for lack of action on gun control, voting rights, reproductive rights and immigration, but these are issues that must be addressed by Congress. President Biden can call for legislation, he can beg for action and he can campaign for change, but he can’t pass bills. He can only sign them.

The president knows he’ll be blamed for things Congress doesn’t get done, but he does have some power to effect change. He can speak out and be heard any time he wishes. He can make executive decisions. He can negotiate with Congress, and he can reason, plead and twist arms.

But in the end, it’s Congress that needs to act. If the two parties in Congress don’t want to work with each other, asking a president to solve all our problems seems a bit unfair.