Posted by Curt on 7 January, 2023 at 1:43 pm. 18 comments already!


by Jon Gabriel

In the movie “Office Space,” business consultant Bob Slydell asked a useless middle manager, “What would you say … you do here?”


With Southwest Airlines canceling 16,000 flights over the holidays, it’s time to pose that question to Pete Buttigieg.


After dropping out midway through the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, Buttigieg was rewarded with one of the easiest gigs in the Biden administration. Seriously, how many transportation scandals hit the headlines? By its nature, transportation pretty much runs itself.


Or it did, until Mayor Pete took over.


Broken supply chains, strikes. Where was Pete?


Shortly after arriving to his 58,000-strong department, supply chain issues snarled freight traffic, damaging businesses, frustrating consumers and fueling inflation. Container ships were bobbing for weeks off the left coast, unable to deposit their stores in the backed-up ports.

The maritime problems have eased a bit, but supply chains remain shaky due to geopolitical tensions, a shortage of truck drivers and limited freight rail capacity. Two years in, and shipments are still getting delayed.

The former mayor of South Bend, Ind., focused on other issues instead, such as ridding America of racist bridges. Before that, he took two months paternity leave.


Throughout Secretary Buttigieg’s tenure, railroads had been unable to reach an agreement with the dozen labor unions representing their workers. By summer 2022, Joe Biden jumped in to create a Presidential Emergency Board to forge a compromise.


Since Buttigieg was busy vacationing in Portugal, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh stepped in to avert a rail strike in September. Congress averted another strike threat in December but neither side was satisfied with the compromise.


That means labor-management relations might hamper rail freight again.


Southwest melts down, Buttigieg writes a letter


Nearly all Americans faced another transportation nightmare beginning in 2021 when fuel prices soared and remain high today. Last month, the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.324. That’s down from the summer highs, but still 37% higher than when Biden entered office.


On that issue, at least, Buttigieg took action: He told cash-strapped Americans to buy electric cars.


Last July 4 weekend, airlines canceled more than 2,200 flights and delayed another 25,000. Democrats on Capitol Hill demanded reforms, but the Transportation Secretary did nothing.


That brings us to the last two weeks, when Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights, stranding thousands of travelers while their luggage was who knows where. Four days into the mess, Buttigieg wrote a letter. Four days later, Southwest fixed the issue on its own.


“Pete, what would you say you do here?”


This gig won’t ‘pad his resume for President’


Despite positive media treatment, Democrats are increasingly pointing out the unbearable lightness of Buttigieg.

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