Warren: 39-Year High Inflation Is Partly Due to Companies Using Talk about Inflation as Chance to Price Gouge

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On Wednesday's broadcast of MSNBC's “All In,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reacted to the 39-year high increase in the consumer price inflation index by arguing that part of the problem is “giant corporations who say, wow, a lot of talk about high prices and inflation, this is a chance to get in there and not only pass along costs, but to inflate prices beyond that and just engage in a little straightforward price gouging.”

Warren said, “Now are high prices a problem? You bet they are. But there are a lot of different pieces that are going into this. Some of this is companies that are passing along high prices that come from the manufacturing sector that come in their ability to sell goods. But some of this is coming from kinks in the supply chain. And there's evidence that these are starting to untwist. But you have to remember, there's another part to what's going on, too, and that is these giant corporations who say, wow, a lot of talk about high prices and inflation, this is a chance to get in there and not only pass along costs, but to inflate prices beyond that and just engage in a little straightforward price gouging. We now live in a time when profit margins are higher than they have been in 70 years. Two-thirds of the publicly traded companies in this country are seeing higher profit margins than they did before the pandemic. Now, your profit margins don't go up just because your costs went up. They go up because you saw an opportunity and you said, as the chair of the Federal Reserve said to me yesterday in testimony, why are they raising prices? ‘[B]ecause they can.' Long term, we want to get those prices more under control. We need competitive markets, and that means enforcing our antitrust laws, enforcing the laws that promote competition in this country that help small businesses compete. That's going to help us, not just in the short run, but that's what's going to help us in the long run too.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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