In an interview on CNBC’s “The Exchange,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) blamed the coronavirus pandemic, the oil industry, and the meat industry for the record-high inflation in the United States.
Warren argued COVID primarily affected the supply chain and shifted the demand curve but also accused companies of increasing costs on top of the rising costs in an effort to generate additional profit.
“[I] think the primary cause of this bout of price increases starts with COVID,” Warren outlined on Wednesday. “And the fact that we have supply change of kinks and that people rapidly shifted the demand curve so that demand for services went down and demand for goods went up. So those two have forced prices up. That’s part one. But what has also happened is that now that we live in an America where there’s a lot more concentration in certain industries — look at the oil industry, look at meat industry, look at groceries generally, that what’s happened is these companies have said, ‘You know, we’ll pass along costs, but while we’re at it, and everyone is talking about rising costs, let’s just add an extra big dollop of cost increases to expand our profits.’”
She continued, “Think about it this way — if all that was happening was that we have problems in the supply chain, so we’re passing those costs along, margins, profit margins, should have stayed about the same, percentage, right, they might have even shrunk a little tiny bit — not happening. Those margins are increasing, and they’re increasing the most where we see lots of corporate concentration. So part one, yes, very much the pandemic. Part two, companies that recognize that because they don’t face a lot of competition can goose those prices up. They’re saying it on their shareholder calls.”
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