TL(PM) DIGEST: Age is just a number, man
Plus diplomats evacuate Sudan, labor shortages in the defense industry, and NYC's mayor wants more money to cope with a surge of recent migrants
1. Nearly 7 in 10 American voters feel Biden is too old to serve a second term
What happened? Ahead of his expected re-election announcement this week, 68 percent of registered voters in a Yahoo News/YouGov poll believe President Biden is “too old for another term”—with nearly half of Democrats agreeing.
Why does it matter? A presidential election campaign is as much a test of resilience as it is policy smarts and good politics. At 80 years old, Biden is the oldest president in U.S. history and will face understandable scrutiny of his performance on the trail as voters consider whether he deserves a second term.
TLP’s take: Yes, Biden is old. But the president has done a stand-up job so far and should be judged on his policies and decisions rather than his advanced age alone—besides, his leading competitor, former president Donald Trump, is no spring chicken himself. So let’s assess the two candidates based on their ideas and plans for the future rather than their accumulated decades on earth.
2. Diplomats evacuate from Sudan
What happened? A wide range of nations, including the United States, pulled their diplomats from Khartoum amid continued fighting between Sudanese factions that’s left hundreds dead. American embassy personnel were airlifted out of the capital by special operations helicopters, while United Nations workers took a nineteen-hour drive to Port Sudan on the Red Sea.
Why does it matter? The evacuation of foreign diplomats from Sudan indicates that governments around the world do not expect fighting in the country to end any time soon. At the same time, thousands of foreign nationals—including 16,000 American citizens—remain in Sudan, and the State Department says it has no immediate plans to coordinate a wider evacuation of Americans.
TLP’s take: It’s good that the U.S. government and others have taken steps to remove their diplomats from an increasingly perilous situation, but it’s also a sign that they expect the fighting in Sudan to persist—if not worsen. If that’s the case, the State Department does in fact need to start coordinating a larger evacuation for all American citizens in Sudan who wish to leave the country.
3. New defense orders face labor shortages
What happened? The Wall Street Journal reports that American and European defense companies are finding it hard to hire enough skilled workers to meet surging demand. This labor shortage comes amidst shortages of components like rocket motors and microchips that have also slowed defense production as the war in Ukraine has increased demand for arms and ammunition in Europe and the United States.
Why does it matter? If defense companies can’t hire enough workers to meet their orders, then the orders won’t be met—at least not in full or on time. That in turn means that it’ll take longer to get new weapons to Ukraine, refill American and NATO stockpiles, and build up industrial capacity for the long run.
TLP’s take: The current situation is largely the result of decades of post-Cold War consolidation and under-investment in the American and allied defense industries, compounded by years of fighting in relatively low-intensity counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East that didn’t require industrial-scale production of arms and ammunition. America and its allies need a workable strategy to rebuild their defense industries and make sure they can produce necessary equipment at sufficient scale.
4. Mayor Adams says New York City budget getting crushed by unfunded migrant crisis
What happened? Speaking at the African American Mayors Conference in Washington, D.C., Mayor Eric Adams of New York City said that his city will spend $4.2 billion through 2024 on care and shelter for tens of thousands of recent migrants to the United States.
Why does it matter? Mayor Adams has been critical of the Biden administration’s refusal to help pay for migrant services as strains on the NYC budget grow—New York is currently spending $5 million a day to care for around 30,000 people who lack basic shelter. “The city is being destroyed by the migrant crisis,” Adams stated.
TLP’s take: Vague rhetoric of open borders and asylum activists aside, the idea that America can let in tens to hundreds of thousands of people without any solid plan for their integration into our cities is absurd. The leader of the nation’s largest city is all but begging for the federal government to take its role on immigration seriously and provide support to deal with the current crisis, but the Biden administration has only granted New York $8 million to help the city deal with a problem it helped create.
Just one more thing…
We have learned nothing from Jurassic Park, apparently: CBS Sunday Morning profiles the scientists hoping to bring woolly mammoths, dodo birds, and other species back from extinction.