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President Biden meets with CEOs in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 29, 2021. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration’s supply chain offensive expanded yesterday, as the country entered the height of the holiday shopping season.

Catch up quick: The Federal Trade Commission launched a study into the role competition plays in supply chain issues and how those issues might cause consumer hardship.

Why it matters: Ongoing supply-chain problems have pushed inflation to its highest level in 30 years, erasing wage gains and denting consumer confidence.

Details: The FTC has requested, in part, that Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, Tyson Foods and five other companies share internal documents on how supply chain disruptions impacted pricing and profit margins, Axios' Ashley Gold reports.

The backdrop: The new directive came as President Biden held a business roundtable yesterday as well — to discuss supply-chain issues — the second reported meeting of its kind this month.

  • Etsy CEO Josh Silverman, who met with President Biden in that meeting, told Axios that he's "heartened" by the administration's infrastructure investments.
  • At the same time, Etsy sellers typically don’t rely on overseas production and fulfillment lines, so they're "ready to meet customer demand," he added.

The big picture: Politically speaking, Democrats are worried that the snags will hurt them at the polls come midterms Axios’ Sarah Mucha writes especially as the approval rating for Biden’s handling of the economy has dipped.

Go deeper

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.