There is no way around it, the country is not only facing a supply chain issue, but also a crisis of workers. In fact, the short supply of workers is one of the causes for the supply disruptions we are seeing. As I have driven around, I have seen various tactics being used to entice people to come back to work. While urban areas seem to see more of it, the problem isn’t just contained to big cities. Rural areas have a smaller workforce to draw on, and that can make things tight in those small-town economies as well.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst spoke with me, last week about supply chain issues. She has recently called for Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to testify before the Senate Ag Committee. However, she also said that Biden Administration policies are not helping the labor shortage. That companies are offering larger incentives and higher pay to get people to work. It is bringing many experienced workers out of retirement to take advantage of that.
When I asked the Senator if these policies are helping to shine a light on the fact that some companies are going to need to step up their game when it comes to taking care of their employees, she said it is all depending on the situation. It isn’t the same everywhere. Some employers do need to make changes, while some companies are willing to pay higher and still not seeing anybody coming to work.
The Senator says that there are people who genuinely need help, and need help proportionate to what it costs to survive. That is what aid programs should be for. Ernst adds that the current programs are incentivizing people to stay home and not work. Some have dubbed it the “Great Resignation”, and it isn’t helping the economy. She says that the Build Back Better Plan will just add to the problem.
The Build Back Better Plan was passed through the House on Friday. It faces a tougher fight in the Senate, where Democrats cannot afford to lose even one vote in the 50-50 split chamber. However, there are moderate Democrats who are not supportive of the plan’s price tag and may join Republicans in stopping it.