If a tree falls in a Canadian forest and a logger has to drive 16 hours to haul it out, does it crush the U.S. president’s economic agenda?
That improbable question may be on the minds of some in Washington as skyrocketing prices of lumber to used cars to corn seed have emerged as troubling signs for the post-pandemic economic boom President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats are counting on to keep them in power.
Consumer demand is shooting up as some Covid-19 restrictions fall. But the supply chain has had trouble keeping up, pushing prices higher and leading to shortages.
Government data from April showed disappointing job growth and an unexpected jump in consumer prices. Basic commodities like copper and iron ore are at all-time highs; gas prices are over $3 a gallon, and analysts were warning of gas shortages even before the recent dayslong shutdown of a key pipeline; and a scarcity of computer chips has forced manufacturers to halt the production of cars, home appliances and more.