Information Highlights ‘Egregious’ Pandemic Profiteering by US Meals and Oil Giants

A brand new evaluation launched Tuesday forward of a congressional listening to on pandemic-era worth gouging exhibits that U.S. companies within the meals and power sectors—from Tyson to Exxon Mobil—are pushing increased prices onto shoppers whereas raking in ever-increasing revenues and handing executives large pay packages.

Performed by the advocacy group Meals & Water Watch (FWW), the evaluation spotlights the truth that skyrocketing meals and power—particularly gasoline—costs have been main contributors to the general rise of inflation within the U.S. Between December 2019 and December 2021, the nation’s Shopper Value Index (CPI) jumped by 8.5%.

“Many corporations have subsequently fattened government compensation whereas employee wages have stagnated.”

In keeping with FWW, general power prices rose 20% over that interval whereas the worth per gallon of unleaded gasoline elevated by 31.7%.

In the meantime, FWW discovered, “the fee to feed a household of 4 on a ‘thrifty’ meals plan has elevated by 33.5%,” pushed by the rising costs of floor beef (+19.2%), bacon (+31.7%), hen breasts (+19.7%), milk (+17.4%), and eggs (+16.5%).

The evaluation emphasizes that such “egregious” worth will increase come as main companies within the U.S. meals and power sectors are reporting rising revenues and big income. Tyson Meals—the second-largest hen, beef, and pork processor on the earth—has seen its income develop 11% above pre-pandemic ranges.

The company additionally rewarded its prime executives with increased pay in 2021 even because it raised costs for shoppers, blaming provide chain points.

Amanda Starbuck, analysis director at Meals & Water Watch, argued in a press release Tuesday that “corporations are hiding behind the pandemic and provide chain disruptions as an excuse to gouge shoppers.”

“In actuality, 2021 revenues among the many largest meals and power companies topped pre-pandemic ranges,” mentioned Starbuck. “Many corporations have subsequently fattened government compensation whereas employee wages have stagnated and even dropped.”

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FWW’s evaluation was revealed on the eve of a Home Power and Commerce Committee listening to scheduled for Wednesday titled, “Pandemic Profiteers: Laws to Cease Company Value Gouging.”

“We spent a half-century permitting enterprise executives and financiers to take management of our provide chains.”

One of many witnesses set to testify on the listening to is Groundwork Collaborative chief economist Rakeen Mabud, who on Monday co-authored an article in The American Prospect arguing that current product shortages and worth hikes had been “dropped at life by means of dangerous public coverage coupled with many years of company greed.”

“We spent a half-century permitting enterprise executives and financiers to take management of our provide chains, enabled by leaders in each events,” wrote Mabud and David Dayen, the Prospect‘s government editor. “All of them hailed the transformation, cheering the advances of globalization, the environment friendly community that might free us from need. Motivated by greed and dismissive of the general public curiosity, they did not point out that their invention was supremely ill-equipped to deal with inevitable provide bottlenecks.”

“And the pandemic uncovered this hidden threat,” they added, “like a domino bringing down a system primed to topple.”

Mabud is anticipated to reiterate that conclusion earlier than lawmakers at Wednesday’s Home listening to. In keeping with his ready testimony, Mabud will contend that “huge companies have taken benefit of shifting demand to boost costs on necessities like Covid assessments, masks, and hand sanitizer, all to generate report income.”

“Our financial system works finest when it really works for all of us, however deeply entrenched concentrated company energy has systematically stripped down provide chains and undermined shoppers’ bargaining energy,” Mabud plans to say. “The trail in the direction of an inclusive, resilient financial system should embrace insurance policies that foster aggressive markets the place shoppers, working folks, and smaller opponents all have significant bargaining energy.”