Pizza and Politics: Supply chains

The Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service welcomed students to their weekly Pizza and Politics event discussing supply chains on Wednesday, Nov. 17.

Ella Gambill and Savannah LeNoble, both members of the executive council for the Leavitt Center, presented students with information regarding the national and international supply chain and how COVID-19 has impacted the supply chain.

To begin the discussion, Gambill asked the students if businesses should be allowed to outsource other countries where labor and materials are cheaper. 

Tom Cloward, a member of the Leavitt Center, does not think it is ideal to have everything made out of the U.S. but understands the importance. 

“I assume we are all poor college students,” Cloward said. “I like being able to buy a $6 phone case so I’m benefitting from it in the long run.”

Anja Hayes, an SUU student, recognized the pros and cons with outsourcing.

“I agree with Tom — things can be cheaper,” Hayes said. “However, a big con would be the inhumane labor standards.”

COVID-19 has put a lot of pressure on the supply chain. Issues like labor shortages, panic buying and closed ports have all impacted the chain.

LeNoble then asked if online shopping habits had increased during the pandemic.

Karaline Taylor, an SUU student, said her habits had increased.

“I bought a record player among several other things,” Taylor said. “I am not proud of how much money I spent that summer.”

Julia Last, an SUU student, blamed her spending habits on the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, I did not have a job or anything to do,” Last said. “When I would see advertisements on my phone, there was nothing stopping me from buying what I wanted.”

LeNoble followed up with another question, asking if the students had noticed a difference in the amount of time waiting for a package to arrive compared to before the pandemic. 

Hayes said that she had seen examples from online purchasing but also in everyday life.

“I do not know if any of you have been to Chili’s in the past three months, but they have not had straws,” Hayes said. 

Like Hayes, Ashley Cannon, a member of the Leavitt Center, had also seen the supply chain affect the Cedar City community.

“The Walmart here in Cedar used to only be out of half of the things I need but now it is out of all the things I need,” Cannon jokingly said. 

Unemployment surged to over 13% during the second quarter of 2020. Within the last year, the unemployment rate has fallen but not to what it was prior to the pandemic.  

Gambill then asked the students what would encourage people to return back to the workforce.

“I think people should be paid more,” Hayes said. “Having incentivized blue collar workers has resulted in a massive decrease in the workforce.”

Jacob Gunderson, an SUU student, believes the best way to solve unemployment is for people to get back in the workforce.

“I do not mean to sound like a smart aleck but the situation solves itself,” Gunderson said. “You get a job when you run out of money.”

The next Pizza and Politics will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1 at noon. The topic being discussed will be conspiracy theories in room 112 of the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

Article by: Lexi Hamel