Just as bad inflation news sent stock markets plunging on Tuesday, another crisis looms with the threat of a nationwide railway strike that could send new shockwaves through the financial system. A shutdown would dramatically affect not just 30% to 40% of the cargo moving across the country but also would bring commuter-rail service grinding to a halt. Amtrak already has begun service suspensions in case the strike starts on Friday.
This is the last hiccup President Joe Biden needs as the nation slowly makes headway toward an economic recovery. But if Republicans are rubbing their hands with schadenfreude glee at the opportunity to blame all the repercussions on the Democrats, they might want to be careful how they phrase it. By supporting a strike by train engineers and conductors, Republicans risk being seen as cheering the economic calamity that certainly would punish all Americans with more supply-chain interruptions.
Meanwhile, Biden and the Democrats risk appearing to side with big business over unions if Congress or the White House take steps to block the strike. Alienating unions could lead to disaster ahead of a tight midterm election.