From food to fuel to housing, consumers are feeling the pinch of rising prices. Some would say it’s more like a punch or slap in the face. As corporations make record profits, they choose to raise prices instead of wages – that tells us all we need to know. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), otherwise known as AOC, is calling those corporations out, tweeting:
“Prices aren’t being dictated by ‘supply and demand.’ They’re being dictated by CEOs.”
On April 6th during a meeting of the US House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, Ocasio-Cortez questioned Mike Mitchell, Director of Policy and Research at Groundwork Collaborative – a group whose mission is to “advance an economic vision for strong, broadly shared prosperity and true opportunity for all” — and exposed corporate price gouging, not organically driven fair market inflation, as the root cause of today’s high prices that are crushing the American people.
Here’s an excerpt from their exchange:
AOC: “When four companies control almost 60% of an industry, the normal supply/demand curve doesn’t really set the price, does it?”
Mitchell: “It does not.”
AOC: “So this whole idea of free markets and supply and demand, and all of these things that our prices are fair and price hikes are just the result of just completely natural competitive environment that starts to fall away when the US economy transforms into an oligopoly. Isn’t that right?”
Mitchell: “That’s correct.”
AOC: “These are assertions of an actual free market with true competition. But when four companies run the show, we don’t really have perfect competition, far from it in our markets.”
The 46-second video, tweeted by Groundwork Collective, is only a snapshot of their exchange.
Groundwork Collaborative has compiled data, across multiple sectors, from corporate earnings calls showing companies brazenly flaunting their near-monopolistic power grip on industries across the spectrum, thumbing their nose at the difficulties faced by American families, while engaging in predatory and unscrupulous business practices that are enabled by a lack of competition.
Mike Mitchell told the committee that:
“Corporate executives are bragging about their ability to engage in aggressive price hikes – all without the risk of losing customers. On these earnings calls, executives note that they can blame higher prices on inflation and geographical conditions.”
He goes on to say:
“The pandemic has been incredibly lucrative for big business. Nearly 2/3rds of the biggest publicly traded companies reported higher profits last yr than in previous years before the pandemic…”
He isn’t wrong.
Mitchell wasn’t the only person from Groundwork Collaborative to testify before Congress that week. The day before, Lindsay Owens, Executive Director for Groundwork, testified before the Senate Budget Committee. In her testimony, at the hearing — entitled “Corporate Profits are Soaring as Prices Rise: Are Corporate Greed and Profiteering Fueling Inflation?” — Owens had this to say:
“The 2021 profit data confirms what CEOs have been telling shareholders for months – inflation has been very, very good for business.”
Yes, it has, Lindsay. Corporations profiting while American families pay the price – literally.
See the full video of AOC’s questioning in her Twitter thread from the day of the hearing below.
Monopolies don't just hurt consumers. They ALSO depress wages b/c there's less competition for hiring – and b/c the power of these huge companies makes it harder to unionize.
Monopolies hurt everyone, workers & consumers.
Full question line from today: https://t.co/xSzpZ8blTS
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) April 6, 2022
Original Source: Groundwork Collaborative
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