Posted: Nov 11, 2021 / 6:39 AM MSTUpdated: 11/11/2021 / 6:39 AM MST
President Joe Biden poses for a picture after speaking during a visit to the Port of Baltimore on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. ( – Photo / Susan Walsh)
BALTIMORE – President Joe Biden on Wednesday touted his $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan as a possible solution to the country’s inflation and supply chain problems – if Americans only have the patience to wait for construction to begin.
The president toured the port of Baltimore at the start of what will likely be a national tour to unveil his signature legislation, which Congress -proved last week and which he plans to sign on Monday. He said the spending would improve the transportation of products and supplies from overseas and within the US to help reduce bottlenecks and create union jobs at lower prices.
This news is getting more critical as the government reported on Wednesday that consumer prices rose 6.2% year over year in October. Inflation has picked up rather than easing with the economy reopening after the coronavirus pandemic, posing a huge challenge for Biden, whose government has repeatedly said the price hikes are temporary. When making statements in the port, he admitted that consumer prices were “too high”.
“Everything from a gallon of gasoline to a loaf of bread costs more,” he said. “We still face challenges and we have to address them … we have to address them directly.”
Higher prices have eroded wages and turned public opinion on the economy against Biden in polls. One of the barriers to reducing inflation has been congested ports with ships waiting to dock at key transit hubs, creating bottlenecks and leaving some store shelves empty before the holiday shopping season.
“A lot of people are unsure about the economy and we all know why,” said Biden.
As a solution, he offered his infrastructure plan, even if it takes time to manifest. Better infrastructure – whether roads, bridges, ports or whatever – would give the supply chain more c -acity and resilience. There would be more c -acity to unload ships and move goods, which in turn would reduce price pressures and scarcity.
Biden said infrastructure spending would create jobs for $ 45 an hour, nearly 50% above the current national average. It would create an abundance of jobs to repair aging pipes, bridges and roads, and promote clean energy and cybersecurity. And most wouldn’t require a college degree.
“This is a one-time investment in a generation,” he said.
The president cited the port of Baltimore as a blueprint for reducing shipping bottlenecks that have slowed economic recovery. The facility adds container cranes as well as a 50-foot berth where ships can be unloaded. The Port of Baltimore also benefits from grants to modernize the Howard Street Tunnel, a brick underpass for trains opened in 1895. The tunnel was to be widened so that shipping containers could be double-stacked on railway wagons to facilitate the transport of goods to the port.
The president, who held consultations with CEOs of Walmart, Target, FedEx and UPS on Tuesday, stressed that these investments are part of a national effort to remove bottlenecks in the supply chain in such a way that broader growth can be encouraged.
His administration also announced new investments to reduce congestion in the Port of Savannah, Georgia, almost a month after the government helped broker a deal for the Port of Los Angeles to operate non-stop.
The president has tried to explain that the congestion in the ports shows how strong the economic recovery was from the pandemic. A forecast by the National Retail Federation points to record levels of imports this year.
The inflation phenomenon is also global in nature, with Germany and China recently reporting high values.
The president brought his case on Wednesday in a city with nearly 600,000 people supporting him. Almost 90 percent of Baltimore voters supported Biden in last year’s election. The president also stopped in town for a CNN City Hall on October 21.
Baltimore embodies the complexities of an increasingly diverse America in a time of heated national politics.
Many Americans have seen a TV version of poverty, crime, political corruption and abandoned row houses on shows like HBO’s “The Wire”. Riots following the death of Freddie Gray in a police car in 2015 helped fuel a national movement for the respect for the rights and lives of black Americans.
But Baltimore also contains deep pockets of wealth and prosperity in a microcosm of the broader inequality the nation faces. There are the mansions of the Guilford neighborhood, elite private schools, famous restaurants and the prestige of Johns Hopkins University.
As President, Donald Trump often hit the mostly black city on Twitter and called it “the WORST IN NATION”. But while Trump despised Baltimore, Biden sees a test case for his agenda that goes beyond ports. Its child tax credits send thousands of dollars to families in a city with a child poverty rate above 30%. The renovation and modernization of the historic Penn Station has begun, which may improve rail traffic through the northeast.