CHUCK TODD (HOST): The economy's inability to fully recover from the shock of COVID-19 is both an economic story and a political one.
So what is holding the economy back? In the spring, we thought we were turning the corner on COVID. But when we turned that corner, the delta variant was waiting on the other side to hit us hard in the face. Delta and vaccine refusals sent cases to their second-highest peak of this pandemic this summer before they finally began to trend downward. Let's hope there's not another variant out there.
A post-COVID supply chain backup has spread across the globe causing cargo ship traffic jams, slowing delivery of goods and yes, driving up costs. In fact, those higher costs have helped feed a rise in prices all over the map, leading to the sharpest rise in inflation in 13 years.
On top of that, millions of Americans have decided they don't want to return to their old high-stress, low-wage jobs, so that's keeping job creation stubbornly low for the last two months and takes some important workers out of the supply chain.
All those economic problems add up to a big political problem for the president. Is all of this his fault? Of course not, but it is now his responsibility. And he and fellow Democrats are in real danger of suffering some serious political consequences. Mr. Biden ran on a promise of a basic return to normal, or at least a path to normalcy. But with the midterm elections just over a year away, unless voters see evidence of this new normal, they may decide to return power back to the Republicans.