US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is on his second month of paid paternity leave - leaving an empty post as the Biden supply chain crisis spirals further out of control.

According to Politico, "Buttigieg’s office told West Wing Playbook that the secretary has actually been on paid leave since mid-August to spend time with his husband, Chasten, and their two newborn babies."

"For the first four weeks, he was mostly offline except for major agency decisions and matters that could not be delegated," said a DOT spokesperson, adding "He has been ramping up activities since then."

The failed 2020 presidential candidate will "continue to take some time over the coming weeks to support his husband and take care of his new children."

That said, while Pete hasn't been able to resolve the dozens of container ships currently stuck off the coast of California, he has been making the rounds on cable TV - appearing on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg and NPR - and attended a high-profile meeting with President Biden to discuss the supply chain catastrophe.

In addition to shortages, the ongoing supply chain disruptions have caused prices to rise - which of course affects lower-income families the most - with the cost of some children's toys having risen as much as 10% ahead of the holiday season, according to the Toy Association.

"It's hitting us at the worst time of the year, which is the holidays," said association President Steve Pasierb.

Meanwhile, top toy executive Isaac Larian of MGA Entertainment told Fox News on Thursday that "whether the ports are open 24 hours a day or 48 hours a day, you cannot get labor. If you cannot get labor, you cannot get trucks, you cannot get the merchandise out."

As we noted earlier, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a point of entry for 40% of all US containerized goods, more than 80 container ships are at anchor and 64 at berths across the twin ports. The backlog doesn't stop there as it takes well more than a week for entry into the port. Once the containers are unloaded, it takes another week to leave the port to warehouses.

Unfortunately for poor families struggling to afford basic needs this year amid horrendous inflation, the US transportation secretary is MIA.