Dismissing the reality of high inflation, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked the Department of Justice to investigate poultry companies for using their combined market power to raise turkey prices.
As The Daily Wire reported earlier this month, meat and poultry producers like Tyson Foods are raising prices due to inflationary pressures. Nevertheless, Warren accused Tyson and its competitors of “price fixing,” “excessive consolidation,” and “plain-old corporate greed.”
Her letter to Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter says:
As poultry companies report record profits, hand out executive pay raises, and spend billions on stock buybacks and dividends, I am requesting that the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) examine how poultry companies’ anticompetitive practices raise costs for American families and lower wages for American farmers — all while enriching poultry executives and shareholders.
The heavily concentrated poultry industry, in which the top four companies (Tyson Foods, Inc. (Tyson), Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue, and Sanderson Farms) control over half of the market, has seen disproportionate price increases this year. In May 2021, processed-poultry prices jumped to an all-time high, with consumer prices continuing to increase through October. And with the holidays approaching, American families are feeling these price increases at the grocery counter…
Lack of competition in the poultry industry is allowing these massive companies to squeeze both American consumers and farmers to fuel record corporate profits and payouts to shareholders. When companies have monopoly power as massive suppliers, they can jack up prices of the goods they sell.
In a press release, Warren dismissed the possibility that firms’ price increases are related to “inflationary costs.” However, several reports indicate that the high price of corn feed is causing a modest decline in turkey production.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, a lobbying group representing the American agriculture sector, the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for ten people will be $53.31 in 2021 — representing a 14% price hike in a single year. The price of turkey has increased by 24%.
Meanwhile, the United States Census Bureau revealed that American retail and food services sales rose by 1.7% between September and October. The Wall Street Journal added that although increased sales are a positive sign as the holiday season begins, higher price levels are a partial driver of the trend.
“The combination of strong demand, snarled supply chains, higher prices and an unbalanced labor market is making for an unusual holiday season where record sales may be accompanied by shortages and long waits for goods. Inflation may also start to cut into demand for consumers with lower incomes who may put off purchases due to price increases,” explains the outlet. “Retail sales figures aren’t adjusted for inflation, so some of the increase can be attributed to higher prices.”
Despite inflation, White House officials have argued that the pending multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better Act would help Americans cope with higher expenses. Brian Deese — who directs the National Economic Council — explained that “this bill is actually going to address the core costs that American families are facing in child care, in housing, in health care.”