Here’s How Democrats Are Reacting To Inflation Reaching New Highs
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at her primary night event on February 11, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Amid news of inflation reaching another record high, Democrats are circling their wagons around legislation meant to crack down on corporations purportedly engaged in price-gouging.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 8.6% between May 2021 and May 2022 — meaning that inflation reached its highest levels in four decades, a Friday morning report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed. The new figure was worse than the Dow Jones estimate of 8.3% year-over-year inflation in May, according to CNBC.

President Biden characterized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as the main factor behind the higher prices.

“Putin’s Price Hike hit hard in May here and around the world: high gas prices at the pump, energy, and food prices accounted for around half of the monthly price increases, and gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement. “Even as we continue our work to defend freedom in Ukraine, we must do more — and quickly — to get prices down here in the United States.”

Although most social media accounts for Democratic members of the Senate discussed the January 6 protest hearings on Friday morning while remaining silent about inflation, two lawmakers — Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — called for Congress to pass their preferred legislation in the interest of slashing prices.

Klobuchar — pointing toward a Thursday tweet from President Joe Biden that blames high prices on “a handful of companies who control the market” for shipping — referred to her Ocean Shipping Reform Act as a mechanism to prevent the firms from “jacking up prices.”

If signed into law, the bill would render it harder “for ocean carriers to unreasonably refuse goods ready to export at ports,” according to Klobuchar’s office. The legislation advanced through the Senate unanimously.

Meanwhile, Warren lauded Klobuchar’s American Innovation and Choice Online Act — which, according to Warren, would “promote competition and lower consumer prices” by banning technology firms from “favoring their own products.”

“The nation’s largest tech companies, such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, have faced accusations of prioritizing their own products on their platforms, using their market power to edge out competitors, and limiting consumers’ choice,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said of the legislation last year, according to Klobuchar’s office.

Before it began to climb, inflation was 1.4% in January 2021, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Over the past year and a half, Democrats have repeatedly emphasized the alleged role of corporations in raising prices.

Ahead of Thanksgiving, for example, Warren blamed meat and poultry producers of “price fixing,” “excessive consolidation,” and “plain-old corporate greed” as turkey prices rose — and called for the Department of Justice to take action.

“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,” she argued. “When companies have monopoly power as massive suppliers, they can jack up prices of the goods they sell.”

Warren, however, rejected the possibility that firms’ price increases are related to “inflationary costs” — even as reports indicated that the high price of corn feed was causing a modest decline in turkey production.

More recently, New York Attorney General Letitia James, another Democrat, called on baby formula retailers to “stop overcharging” for the scarce product.

“It’s unconscionable that some retailers are taking advantage of the national baby formula shortage while parents are struggling to find food for their children,” she said. “Amid this crisis, families already have enough to worry about and should not have to worry about being price gouged. We are warning all retailers that New York will not tolerate price gouging of baby formula, and I encourage anyone who sees this to continue reporting it to my office.”

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