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  • Joan Carney

How to answer a complaint about high grocery prices


Don’t be afraid to engage the complainers. Here are the facts.


In 2022, there was a jump in the consumer price index (CPI) particularly for groceries (11.4) and energy (goods 32.9 & services 16.1). (1)


This was due to the post-Covid economic recovery - as job vacancies increased and unemployment decreased, wages went up causing inflation. Supply chain issues and backlogs amplified the problem.


Rejecting conventional wisdom (tightening the job market is the only way to cool demand), Biden persevered and continued to add jobs, 5 million so far. (2) He also released 180 million barrels of oil from the U.S. strategic reserves to steady the energy market.


His policies are working! The U.S economy grew at a 4.9% annualized rate in the third quarter of 2023, higher than any other G7 country and well above Trump’s rate of 2.5% before the pandemic.


Grocery prices however have remained stubbornly high. Why? Corporate price gouging, says economist Robert Reich. (3) Among his examples is PepsiCo’s announcement that it will continue to keep its prices high in 2024. At about the same time Coca-Cola’s CEO claimed that his company had “earned the right” to push price hikes because its sodas are popular. One can’t help speculating that there was illegal collusion between these two giants. It’s no wonder that corporate profits reached a record high in the fourth quarter of last year!


With his usual competence, President Biden took steps to enforce antitrust measures more aggressively than any other administration in the last 40 years. Of course, Republicans are fighting this tooth and nail!


The final word: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last Tuesday, May 14, concluding that goods and services an American household consumed in 2019 were cheaper in 2023 than they were in 2020, because incomes grew faster than prices over that four-year period. In other words, Biden’s policies have put more money into the pockets of ordinary Americas than high grocery prices have taken out!


Would Trump have had the experience or know-how to pull that off?


(1) Congressional Budget Office Report https://www.cbo.gov/publication/60166

(2) Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American May 15, 2024

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2 days ago

Excellent info! The corporate greed is beyond disgusting. As explained above, as just ine example, PepsiCo announced that it will continue to keep its prices high in 2024. At about the same time Coca-Cola’s CEO claimed that his company had “earned the right” to push price hikes because its sodas are popular. Illegal collusion? Can’t help but wonder! No surprise that corporate profits reached a record high in the fourth quarter of last year. Thanks for posting!

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