On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki repeated her claim that meat companies – specifically the conglomerate of Big Meat – are to blame for increasing meat prices.
Amid the inflation that has only gained steam, beef prices specifically are up 20% compared to a year ago.
Psaki made her remarks during the daily White House 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
Psaki placed the blame squarely on Big Meat:
“Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for beef, pork, and poultry products, and the data shows, and I think their record profits are evidence of this, that there have been increases in meat prices while the companies have generated recent record profits,” Psaki said in response to a reporter’s question about the price of food stock and profits.
“If you look at historical precedent here, 50 years ago ranchers got over $0.60 for every dollar a family spent on beef,” she claimed. “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.”
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Psaki said, “It certainly shouldn’t work that way. 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 this industry.”
In December, Psaki said the inflation was due to “corporate greed”:
Always play the victim — watch as Jen Psaki endorses the argument that “corporate greed” is why things are more expensive with oil, gas, and meat companies purposefully making life difficult for the American people. pic.twitter.com/16nPA4sK3t
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) December 14, 2021
Is There Something To It?
Psaki’s comments are a common refrain among the left, in that all societal ills are invariably caused by “greed” or capitalism.
Nevermind that the federal government has wildly ramped up spending during the pandemic, under both President Trump and President Biden. Or that the Federal Reserve continues to pump the economy.
But there could be some truth to Psaki’s claim.
The Des Moines Register reported Friday on a recent settlement by a major meat company, “Meatpacking giant JBS has agreed to a $52.5 million settlement in a beef price-fixing lawsuit that some say supports their concerns about how the lack of competition in the industry affects prices.”
“Colorado-based JBS didn’t admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, and company spokeswoman Nikki Richardson said JBS will continue to defend itself against other plaintiffs in the case, but she said JBS decided the settlement was ‘in the best interest of the company,” the Register noted.
The report added, “A federal judge reviewed the settlement Thursday and will rule later whether to approve it.”
Indeed, highly regulated industries can tend to become conglomerated, which can obviously lead to less competition and higher prices. And no doubt about it – if a major conglomerate was fixing prices above their market price, they’ll be higher.
But the Big Meat conglomerate doesn’t account for all the inflation. Prices for food have skyrocketed along with gas, vehicles, and other sectors.
It’s disingenuous to gloss over what is likely the primary cause of inflation right now – reckless government spending, monetary devaluation, and supply chain issues brought on by COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Greed” is absolutely a factor: greedy politicians spending trillions we don’t have, financed by debt and inflation.
For the Biden administration or anyone else on the left to acknowledge these factors, it would mean taking a hard look in the mirror.
So don’t expect these kinds of admissions from Psaki anytime soon.