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It’s been more than a year and a half since the government forced businesses to close at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government told millions of Americans that their participation in the workforce put their friends and families at risk. Therefore, businesses were given no choice but to lay off federal taxpayer-paid workers to stay at home.

President Joe Biden’s recent announcement to impose a vaccination mandate on companies that employ more than 100 people has further exacerbated the workforce shortage. Now, once again, the government is forcing many willing workers out of the workforce when we need them the most. The dignity of work has been lost for millions of Americans, replaced by cradle-to-grave welfare from the federal taxpayer.

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Low labor participation is affecting every industry. Due to insufficient staff, restaurant hours are getting reduced. Manufacturers are reducing production, airlines are canceling flights, grocery store shelves are emptying, and small businesses are hanging by a thread.

Even though labor participation is low, consumer purchases remain high due to the many individuals stuck at home, combined with excessive handouts from the federal government. This increases America’s dependence on foreign manufacturing.

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Former Walmart CEO: How Biden’s supply chain is ‘messy from start to finish’

The policies of the Biden administration are ensuring that employers do not recover from forced lockdowns; The implications of these job-crushing decisions are compounded and will continue to hurt Americans for years to come.

Much of America’s economic woes can be traced back to the Biden administration’s failure to prioritize return to work policies soon after the initial lockdown. Democrats dragged their feet to get the economy back in motion. Without renewed investment in labor participation, the supply chain breaks down.

Today, thousands of cargo ships are waiting to land on American shores. These ships carry a wide range of products from cars made in Japan to clothing made in Spain to microchips made in China. But as supply chains break down, these ships are waiting at dock workers, those dock workers waiting for trucks, and dwindling numbers of truck drivers struggling to keep up with the increased demand.

When one link in the supply chain is disrupted, it affects everything else on the line.

#EMPTYSHELVESJOE is trending on Twitter amid Biden’s supply chain crisis

When we drive around our hometowns, we see ‘Help Wanted’ signs in almost every window. Whatever the occupation, it seems that everyone has a vacant job that they are trying their best to fill.

The same crisis is happening in every community in our country, but the Democrats are doing nothing to fix it. Instead, Democrats continue to expand unemployment payments, rent deferments, and generally make it as easy as possible for people to stay at home and rely on the taxpayer.

The solution isn’t quick, but it’s simple: encouraging a rapid return to the workforce. It will take time to restore the supply chain. But the faster we get Americans back to work, the faster we will see results.

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It starts with the last stage of the supply chain: the local community. These are your neighbors—the employees who stock the shelves at your nearest grocery store and those who cook your favorite diners and restaurants.

It spread from there to: local and regional distributors, truck drivers and cargo pilots who transport goods across the country, and both domestic and foreign manufacturers who initially developed the products.

What Americans can expect over the next one to two years is generally a persistent shortage of products in sufficient and accessible supply. We don’t mean to scare you; it’s a fact. This is a direct result of Biden’s lack of leadership. While we cannot stop what is already going on, we can control how long it affects our future by working to restore labor participation to pre-lockdown levels.

A QR code cannot load a cargo truck at the port in Los Angeles and take it to a Walmart in Topeka. You can’t refill the fuel storage tank at your local gas station through Zoom. Despite all the new ways we’ve learned to interact with each other during lockdown, the supply chain depends on you – an individual workforce.

We need a vigorous return to the workforce, a return to job creation and an economic environment that encourages growth. With an energetic workforce and priority on entrepreneurship, it will be dawn in America once again.

Republican Kevin Hearn represents the First Congressional District of Oklahoma in the United States House of Representatives.

Republican Diana Hershberger represents the First Congressional District of Tennessee in the United States House of Representatives.