President Joe Biden inherited a nation poised for a tremendous post-COVID resurgence, requiring only mid-level competence to keep things on track. Unfortunately for America, he hasn’t been up to the task.
The biggest issue facing the nation for the past year obviously has been the coronavirus, which has killed more than 600,000 Americans, infected nearly 34 million, and forced the economy into a near standstill last year.
As he entered office, however, the good news for Biden was that multiple vaccines already had been developed and with doses ramping up, thanks to former President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. The economy was rebounding, and millions of jobs had returned. What was required of the new president was to not screw things up.
But at the four-month mark of his administration, Biden has badly mismanaged things, contributing to a cluster of problems that are increasingly spiraling out of control. Punchbowl News, an inside-the-Beltway email newsletter, downplayed Biden’s predicaments as mere “brushfires,” as though they were minor headaches to be addressed without much concern. But the nation is facing serious problems either immediately or lurking around the corner.
Millions of Americans had to calculate whether they had enough gas in their cars to keep them mobile after a cyber attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which carries 45 percent of the fuel used by the east coast of the United States. With almost immediate gasoline shortages, rising prices, and gas stations shutting down, the nation would rightly expect the president to snap to attention. Instead, administration officials seemed to shrug at the growing calamity and declined to even offer an opinion on whether the pipeline operator should pay a ransom to the hackers.
It’s a “private sector decision, and the administration has not offered further advice at this time,” said Anne Neuberger, the deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technologies. This was three days after the attack had shut down the pipeline.
Despite the public nonchalance, the Biden White House was “acutely sensitive to the images of lines outside gas stations before Memorial Day,” reported Axios, which also noted Biden was being likened to former President Jimmy Carter, who oversaw dramatic fuel shortages in the 1970s and a national malaise. This comparison was made somewhat easier by the recent release of a bizarrely proportioned photo of the Bidens visiting the Carters at home just a few weeks earlier.
In the end, despite longstanding warnings against making payments to terrorists — largely because it incentivizes future attacks — the pipeline company paid a $5 million ransom.
While the gas shortages were occupying Americans’ daily lives, there was all-out war brewing in the Middle East between Israel and Hamas. Trump had shepherded historic diplomatic agreements between Israel and Arab nations through the Abraham Accords, but Biden seems determined to disrupt the delicate peace in the region.
Biden restored $235 million in aid to the Palestinians, clearly signaling to Hamas — designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Clinton administration in 1997 — that American support for Israel had weakened. Prominent critics say such a shift “invites precisely the kinds of violence we are seeing in the region today.” As a result, the Palestinian militants are emboldened.
Not content with roiling conditions in other parts of the world, Biden has also caused a catastrophe on our southern border. He campaigned for president promising amnesty for illegal immigrants, taxpayer-provided health care, work permits, support for sanctuary cities, and ending deportations.
Upon assuming office, he began dismantling Trump’s effective policies. This naturally created a border surge. It’s little wonder that migrants quickly began arriving at our border wearing Biden-themed T-shirts.
Despite months of the White House refusing to call the situation a “crisis,” that’s exactly what it is. In April alone, border apprehensions by federal officials jumped to 178,622, an increase from 173,348 apprehensions the previous month. Even more shocking is the fact that April’s number represents a more than tenfold increase compared to April 2020.
Many of those seeking to enter our country illegally are doing so to find work, something that millions of legal residents are declining to do. The April report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was expected to show more than 1 million jobs added, but came in at only 266,000 new jobs, with the unemployment rate ticking up to 6.1 percent. For an economy that should be roaring through a strong recovery, these were dismal numbers, causing many to charge that federal unemployment benefits were too much competition for employers looking to hire.
Yet Biden rejected the notion that unemployment checks had anything to do with the weak jobs totals. “No, nothing measurable,” he said.
The data show, however, that 8.1 million jobs are currently available in America and small businesses across the country are complaining no one will accept their offers of employment. This is despite businesses offering higher wages, signing bonuses, cash just for showing up to an interview, and other enticements.
Coming into office, Biden was set up nicely for a smooth glide toward nearly effortless success. Like a golfer going into the final hole of a tournament with a three-shot lead, he needed only to keep the ball in the short grass to win. Instead, Biden has been in the woods, in the bunker, and in the water, seeing his chances for easy glory fading away.