With the 2020 election quickly approaching, Joe Biden became the third major candidate to announce his candidacy for President of The United States. He has become a leader in universal healthcare and climate change action plans. His opponents are attacking him on how he would handle foreign policy issues like North Korea or Iran as well as domestic ones such as abortion laws.
Last week, in the White House, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg prepared for a televised interview.
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Everyone’s family leave obligations are being ruined by US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. That is, for everyone on the left. Mr. Buttigieg is presenting a real-time refutation of one-size-fits-all government regulation, just in time for a debate on President Joe Biden’s multibillion-dollar package of federal orders.
“Can Pete Buttigieg have it all?” asked Alex Thompson and Tina Sfondeles in a Politico piece last week. Mr. Buttigieg “has gone missing,” they said, adding:
In recent weeks, as U.S. ports faced anchor-to-anchor gridlock and Congress was on the verge of exploding over the president’s infrastructure program, the typically ubiquitous Transportation Secretary was nowhere to be seen. On television, one of the White House’s go-to communicators was absent. He was not present on Capitol Hill during the talks over the bill that he had previously assisted in selling to various members of Congress. Conservative opponents attempted (unsuccessfully) to make the hashtag #WheresPete trend, and Fox News published an article on October 4 with the headline: “Buttigieg silent on worsening port bottleneck as shipping fears rise ahead of the holidays.” Buttigieg’s office informed West Wing Playbook that the secretary has been on paid vacation since mid-August to spend time with his spouse, Chasten, and their two newborn twins, which they hadn’t previously announced.
So began a media-wide celebration of the wisdom of the government’s generous family leave programs. Mr. Buttigieg, on the other hand, seems to understand the political ramifications of a cabinet secretary “absent in action” amid a crisis directly connected to his portfolio, as Politico put it.
On MSNBC on Friday, Mr. Buttigieg lauded the importance of family-leave regulations and detailed the difficult job he was doing to care for the infants. Despite this, he stated that while caring for the newborns, he not only engaged in his department’s work but also made himself accessible “24/7” to carry out his job’s important decision-making tasks, including dealing with the supply-chain problem.
Mr. Buttigieg is attempting to be all things to all people, portraying himself as a caring dad on sabbatical and an executive who is never off the clock. While the Department of Transportation may regard him to have taken paid family leave, he is effectively claiming that he has not taken family leave in the sense that the Biden administration defines it.
What company would reject family leave policies that required all workers to be accessible all day, every day to do the fundamental functions of their jobs? Mr. Buttigieg is planning a leave schedule that is more rigorous than that of most workers who are not on vacation.
Despite the absurdity of his assertions and the media’s infatuation for him, the transportation secretary is assisting in the illumination of crucial realities. Every company has its own requirements, every employee is different, and employers and employees engage in different ways. Many workers, especially in small businesses, are as important as Mr. Buttigieg portrays himself to be for his department. In certain circumstances, a company owner and an employee may agree that family leave is necessary, but that some critical work should be completed while the employee is away.
Imposing rigid regulations on the numerous employment arrangements among consenting adults in our huge economy would result in fewer of these arrangements, as enterprises and employees will be less able to form bargains that meet their specific needs and desires. And the last thing this economy needs is another roadblock to job growth. The shortfalls of supply that Mr. Buttigieg claims to be addressing are mostly due to a lack of recruiting.
Gabriel Rubin and Catherine Lucey of the Wall Street Journal report:
With little over a month before the Christmas shopping season formally kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, the Biden administration is looking for methods to relieve bottlenecks in the pressured supply chain, while conceding that they may not be able to alleviate all of the strains right now. The government has hailed the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles’ decision to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week as a positive step forward. Meanwhile, inflation rose last month and stayed at its highest level in almost a decade, owing to price hikes resulting from pandemic-related manpower and material shortages.
This gets us to the question of whether the nation has suffered as a result of Mr. Buttigieg’s absence. On this point, all Americans should give him a break. His desire to address matters other than the creation and maintenance of functional transportation infrastructure has set him apart from previous transportation secretary. He sees projected increased government expenditure as a chance to “subtract” as many new or wider highways as possible.
Mr. Buttigieg described it to Rolling Stone in March as follows:
Going forward, any discretionary infrastructure funds will pay close attention to climate implications as well as racial and economic impacts, which hasn’t always been the case in the past but will undoubtedly be the case in the future.
Does anybody believe that bringing racial politics, wealth inequality debates, and the climate change agenda into port logistics conversations would help to speed up the movement of goods?
Mr. Buttigieg may be convinced to prolong his leave, or whatever it is that he’s on.
“The Cost: Trump, China, and American Revival” is co-authored by James Freeman.
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(Teresa Vozzo contributes to the compilation of Best of the Web.) Tony Lima deserves credit for this.)
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