Former President Harry S. Truman, in my opinion and that of many historians, one of our most underrated presidents, was fond of saying “the buck stops here.” He said it; he meant it; and he lived it. The meaning is clear. When you are the head guy, the one in charge, “El Jefe,” the President, you are responsible for everything that occurs during your tenure, either good or bad, intentional or not, whether you knew about it or not. In business, for example, the standard is whether you knew or should have known. You are the ultimate authority, and human resources 101 holds that with the authority comes the responsibility. Excuses such as “I didn’t know;” “no one told me” or “how could I have anticipated it” are not only unacceptable, they insult the intelligence of those to whom you say it.
Quiz question: What does the “S” in Truman’s name stand for? See answer below.
That brings us to President Biden. Currently, the country is suffering through the worst inflation in 40 years. This is on top of all the other crises, which I have detailed in previous blogs and do not wish to regurgitate here.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in April 2022 the year-over-year inflation rate was 8.3%, and most economists expect the rate to be higher over the next few months. Our economy is in dire straits. You don’t need me to tell you that. Anyone who has bought food, clothing, cars, tires and filled their gas tank knows this all too well. Many families have been forced to choose among, eating, paying the rent, or gassing up their car. Some examples of the foregoing, according to BLS statistics are fuel oil up 81%, gasoline up 44%, milk up 15%, and plane tickets up 33%. Inflation has impacted everyone, but the hardest hit, as always, have been the poor, the working class and seniors on a fixed income.
Gas in my neighborhood has jumped some 80 cents in the past week. Just the other day, one gas station raised its price 20 cents in an hour! Talk about “sticker shock!” Furthermore, we are heading into the summer months when energy usage and prices normally increase. Don’t be surprised to see gas lines and “brown-outs” this summer.
Economists know that inflation, once unleashed, is very tenacious. It is very difficult to weed out. I expect this will get worse before it gets better, a lot worse. BLS has reported that price inflation has continued in May. Anyone who has bought anything recently is fully cognizant of this.
In the past few days we have been hit with the final indignity, maybe the worst of all – a shortage of baby formula. Yes, baby formula. Due to a combination of a massive recall and supply chain issues most stores are devoid of it. Parents are panicking. I can’t think of anything worse than being unable to feed your baby. Moreover, this affects more than just infants. Doctors and pharmacists such as Roger Paganelli have denoted that many “special needs” children suffer from various medical issues that require them to get their nourishment from baby formula via feeding tubes in their stomach. This is truly a matter of life or death.
Can this get any worse? Apparently, “yes.” I have seen news reports on Fox News and in the NY Post that despite the aforementioned shortage the feds have been hoarding pallets and pallets of baby formula. This has been reported by Representative Kat Cammack who claims to have seen these pallets and taken photos of them. Where are these pallets? Take a guess. If you said the southern border go to the head of the class. Evidently, they have been set aside for illegal migrant babies. I think we can all agree that migrant babies should have access to formula, but tell that to a US mother who cannot find any for her own baby. (America first, or America last?)
President Biden has not only failed to reassure Americans that he has a plan to deal with these issues, but he will not even take responsibility for them. Furthermore, he has been slow to admit that these problems even exist. Instead, in his recent public appearances he has chosen to blame others, for example, Putin, the GOP, the meat processors, former President Trump, COVID, and circumstances beyond his control for this crisis and his Administration’s failure to deal with it. Americans are not interested on who is to blame; this is no time to play politics; we just want it fixed. People are suffering. People are dying. Regardless of who or what has caused this, it is Biden’s duty and responsibility to fix it.
Apparently, rather than “the buck stops here,” Biden believes in “pass the buck.”
Quiz answer: The middle initial “S” does not stand for anything, just “S.”