White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on the claim that soaring meat prices are caused by profiteering from meat companies.
As of December 2021, consumer prices were rising at a 7% pace — leading to higher grocery prices and tighter budgets for many American families. Rather than pointing to federal spending or loose monetary policy, Democratic officials have placed the blame on supermarkets and meat companies for trying to earn higher profits.
Psaki repeated the same claims on Tuesday afternoon.
“Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for beef, pork, and poultry products, and the data show … that there have been increases in meat prices while the companies have generated recent record profits,” Psaki said in response to a reporter during her press briefing.
Thanks to a softball from Bloomberg's Jordan Fabian, Jen Psaki reiterates that meat and poultry companies are the reason why we've seen such a skyrocketing rise in the price of beef, chicken, and pork at the grocery store. pic.twitter.com/pp8U9JoSQc
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) February 8, 2022
“If you look at historical precedent here, 50 years ago ranchers got over $0.60 for every dollar a family spent on beef. Today, they get about $0.39,” she added. “50 years ago, hog farmers got $0.40 to $0.60 for each dollar they spent. Today, it’s about $0.19, and the big companies are still making major profits.”
“It certainly shouldn’t work that way,” Psaki concluded. “As the President said many times, capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation. And we have continued concern about the lack of competition in these industries.”
Psaki’s remarks mirror those made by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who recently pressed Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter to investigate poultry companies.
“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,” Warren wrote to Kanter. “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,” she continued. “When companies have monopoly power as massive suppliers, they can jack up prices of the goods they sell.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Tyson attributed its recent price hikes to inflationary pressures. The firm is also battling labor shortages that have been presenting challenges to businesses across the United States.
Price hikes for groceries extend well beyond meat. Other food companies — including Nestlé, the world’s largest food and beverage firm — unveiled price hikes to keep pace with inflation. CEO Mark Schneider told journalists last year that “what we’ve seen this year is some kind of a turning point, where after several years of low inflation, all of a sudden it accelerated very strongly.”
Indeed, inflation is eroding Americans’ wealth. Though nominal wages have been rising, “real average hourly earnings” — which consider the effect of inflation — decreased by 2.4% from December 2020 to December 2021, starkly cutting the purchasing power of American households.