Put The Blame Where It Belongs

Let’s talk about inflation for a few minutes.  Log onto any news site and you will see something about the current rate of inflation.  Many, even among the mainstream news, have chosen to blame President Biden, but they are turning a blind eye to the reality … it’s easier to pick on the president than do a bit of digging into the causes, right?

First, let’s narrow this discussion to the price of food, for everything else is irrelevant or unnecessary when you get down to the bare bones.  You have to eat, you must have carrots, but you don’t have to have that new pair of shoes or even the latest James Patterson book.  The grocery store is the one place where everyone, no matter their station in life, skin colour, religion, or gender is going to feel the pinch in times of high inflation.

Now … let me ask you a question:  do you think that the big food producers have suffered a loss in profits in these times of inflation and are raising their prices just in order to stay afloat?  If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ to that question, you are in for a big surprise.  No, their profits are actually increasing … think about that one for a minute … their profits are increasing while you and I are struggling to afford enough food to keep our family healthy.

Let’s take Tyson Foods, for one example …

Earlier this week, executives at the largest meat processor in the country detailed how dramatically they have raised prices. In the last three months of 2021, Tyson Foods’ “average beef prices rose by nearly one-third while pork prices increased by 13 percent, and chicken by 20 percent,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

The company is blaming everything from labor shortages to supply chain woes for these price hikes, but the reality is that their quarterly profits more than doubled, driven up by surging profit margins for beef, pork, and chicken. Tyson’s stock price jumped 12 percent after this news broke.

Tyson isn’t the only food producer that’s raising prices.  Mondelez — whose brands include Oreo, Ritz, Wheat Thins, and Triscuits — saw its gross profit increase by more than $800 million in 2021, but still jacked up prices by up to 7 percent in January and is leaving the door open to raising them again.  McDonald’s prices rose more than 6 percent last year. In the company’s latest earnings call, the CFO credited strong sales and “strategic menu price increases.” Overall, their net sales for the year rose 13 percent to more than $6 billion thanks to these menu price hikes.

Granted, supply chain issues, labour shortages, and the pandemic are real issues, but the inflation you’re seeing at the grocery store is more often due to … corporate greed.

And now another question:  given the higher levels of corporate profits, do you think these corporations are giving their employees nice raises of at least 7.5% to match the rate of inflation?  Again, if you answered either ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ you’d be wrong.  While most companies have increased worker wages in order to keep and attract employees, the increases have averaged about half of the rate of inflation.  Back to the example of Tyson Foods … CEO John Tyson made $13.74 million last year, an increase of more than 22% over the prior year, while Tyson employee’s pay increases averaged 9%.

In these times of rising inflation, the rich continue doing what they’ve always done, getting richer off the labour of their workers and artificially raising prices, while the poor get poorer, even if they receive a modest pay increase.  The minimum wage in this country is still $7.25 and has not been raised since July 2009!  Congress has steadfastly refused to raise it for the past 13 years because a large number of members of Congress are in the pockets of corporations and corporate CEOs who donate to their campaigns.  At this rate, the minimum wage will still be $7.25 at the end of this decade.  It rather shoots down the theory of “Trickle-down economics,” doesn’t it?

And to add insult to injury, most of these corporations find ways to pay very little in taxes, thus leaving the bulk of the tax burden to those of us who life payday to payday.

So, next time someone tries to blame President Biden or Democrats for inflation, know that the real blame is on the wealthy corporations who are pocketing their profits rather than trying to help their workers or the rest of us struggling in this era of the pandemic!  Greed and arrogance go hand in hand and are destroying the country in more ways than one.

222 thoughts on “Put The Blame Where It Belongs

  1. And, generally speaking, most of the ‘wealthy’ out there are die hard Republicans. Every time I see some article trying to blame inflation on Covid it makes me want to scream. Bullsh,&!! And they wonder why low paid jib workers are quitting in droves. I just can’t.. anymore.

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    • Oh yes, for if they weren’t Republicans with the Republican arrogance and greed, then they wouldn’t BE wealthy! Covid certainly played a role in the current rate of inflation, BUT … it is not solely responsible. The wealthy still skim theirs off the top, leaving the dregs for us ‘common’ people and allowing prices to skyrocket while they are occupied counting their pieces of gold!

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  2. Jill, presidents get too much credit and blame for the economy, providing only headwinds and tailwinds. But, if we are on give credit or blame, we should note Biden inherited an economy reeling from the pandemic, while Trump inherited an economy in its 91st consecutive month of economic growth, the third longest in history. Yet, the former president said to his followers he did all of that as the pretty good economy continued, but the pandemic sank it. The inflation is upon us as demand is higher than supply, due in part to the slow recovery in certain industries and insufficient workers to move things along. Are people taking advantage with higher prices than needed – yes, some worse than others. Hopefully, we can return to more normalcy as the pandemic subsides some. Keith

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    • Good points, my friend! He did inherit rather a mess and in my book has done a pretty good job of cleaning the mess. He might do an even better job if he had a little cooperation from Congress, too!

      I could buy the part about rising prices being necessary due to slow recovery, insufficient workers, etc., but when the CEOs of those companies made higher salaries than ever, then no, rather than increasing their own profits they could have used that money to keep prices from rising. Or, perhaps I just don’t think the same as they do.

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  3. T’was ever thus. It’s the rich wot gets the pleasure and the poor wot gets the blame. Often people are blamed for a businesses drop in profits for not spending enough, despite the fact they don'[t have it to spend because the rich don’t pay them enough.CEO’s salary and pay increases should be capped.

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    • Sigh. Perhaps ’twas ever thus, but it’s time for it to change! CEOs should be limited to a salary equal but not to exceed the amount they donate to the poor! I’m so sick of wealthy people and their arrogance … let them all eat cake!!!!
      Cwtch

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  4. As usual, Jill and friends, this is just another example of “When things go bad, greedy corporations make it worse, and worse, and worse!” These price hike are barely warranted. And everything falls on the consumers. Time after time after time!

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  5. Thank you for your insight on this issue.

    I was not aware that thes profits of these food comapnies have risen so much. I’m wondering if any of the jump in profits are the result of perhaps not comparing apples to apples, since last year these companies may have experienced serious profit problems. And so this year, they were bound to show increases. It would be interesting to see if these companies are back to their pre-pandemic levels in terms of sales and profits. But like you point out, there is nothing like corporate greed, and I wouldn’t be surprised if these increases were a little bit of both. And the pay increase for the CEO compared to the average worker seems quite unfair…

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    • You are one trusting guy, Jim. Anyone who makes $13.74 million in a year is stealing $13.73 million not only from his slave-workers but he is even stealing from cotporation investors. No job in this world is worth $13.74 million in salaries. I’m betting there are bonuses and stock options on top of that salary, but even if it includes those, it is still too much by over 99%. He is not paid those wages for doing a good job for the corporation, but for figuring out how to increase profits while keeping wages low.

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    • I’m in Australia so I can’t make an exact comparison, but over here, ALL of the big supermarket chains have posted big profits, all through the pandemic. BUT…they’ve only just started raising prices because Omicron has led to massive worker and supply chain shortages. I do all my shopping online, and about 80% of meat cuts are ‘temporarily unavailable’. We have had floods that have cut off large sections of the inland, but still, no matter how much you may produce, it can’t be sold if it can’t be transported and stocked on shelves.
      Supply and demand does influence prices so I assume something similar is? maybe? happening in the US. That said, our supermarkets offer free ‘direct to boot’ pickup of groceries as well as surprisingly cheap contactless delivery, especially if you buy in bulk and just once a week. We kind of feel that the supermarket chains have earned their profits, but I don’t know if it’s the same in the US. If they haven’t, then it’s profiteering, pure and simple.

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      • thank you for sharing that perspective. many of our grocery stores are also now doing much more of their business through delivery and curbside pickup perhaps that is just a more profitable way of running a store. I certainly hope these global shortages, of people and product, end soon…

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        • I’m not sure about the US, but over here, the supermarkets have gained friends because of their positive response to the Covid threat. Hmm…I should probably qualify that by saying that they’ve been great here in Victoria where I live. The whole state,but in particular Melbourne, was hit very hard with lockdowns, curfews etc etc. The supermarkets helped make life a little easier. I think the same applies to the other states but I have no first hand knowledge of it.

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          • I can see why people would be happy with the grocery stores, given how they stepped up during the pandemic. they kept their doors open, their shelves stocked as best they can, and I am sure it was a challenge for the employees to go into work under such conditions…

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          • Here, the supermarkets have gained some respectability for their attempts to meet the need of people during this pandemic, but they are not treating their employees fairly and that, to me, is a big problem.

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              • The minimum wage is $7.25 per hour and has not been raised since 2009! Needless to say, with normal inflation that $7.25 has far less purchasing power today than it had 13 years ago and many minimum wage workers must work 2 jobs just to pay the rent and buy a bit of food! Worse yet … certain workers such as restaurant servers can be paid significantly less than $7.25, for they are expected to make up the difference in tips!!! Yes, my friend, it IS slave wages … and yet our lawmakers have consistently voted against raising the minimum wage … 🤬

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                • Ugh. I knew that tips were a /necessary/ part of the US economy but I didn’t know why. Over here we only tip if the service has been particularly good. The US is full of very strange paradoxes – obsession about ‘freedom’ and guns yet a laissez faire attitude to basic justice. 😦

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                  • Knowing that servers and such are paid about half of minimum wage, and knowing that some people don’t tip at all, I always try to be extra generous with my tips. My philosophy is that if you cannot afford to leave a decent tip, then you really cannot afford dining out, for here a tip is truly essential. Also, we should always tip in cash, rather than adding it to a bill which we pay with a credit card, for some unscrupulous business owners will take a percentage of their employees’ tips!!! It should be illegal, but they’ve found ways to get around it. If I order pizza, I always give the delivery guy $20 in cash ever since I learned that the pizza place takes half of their tips! Yes, the U.S. is very full of strange paradoxes … some love their guns more than their own children, and ‘freedom’ has a very strange connotation among some. Sigh. If I had a choice, I would live elsewhere, but right now I don’t.

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                    • My very first job after high school was in a local restaurant. I know what serving staff have to put up with to earn tips. Making that necessity part of their wage? That denies them the dignity every person deserves, no matter what their job.
                      Australia is changing, and not for the better, but it’s still a decent place to live. Just saying.

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                    • I, too, tried a job as a server in a hotel diner, but hated it and hated the pinches, the pickiness of some customers, and I walked out when one man threw a plate of food at me! I read yesterday about a restaurant that collects ALL the tips their servers earn and splits them equally among all servers PLUS the dishwashers. Where’s the reward for the server who went above and beyond to please a customer? So unfair!!! Yes, from all I know, and I have several blogging buddies from Australia, it is a good place to live. No place is without problems, but I think you guys are doing okay compared to so many countries.

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                    • -shudder- what a bastard. My worst experience was when I had to serve a group booking of drunk footballers. One farted in my face as I bent over to place his food on the table. I’ve hated footballers ever since.

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      • Like you, Andrea, I have been doing most all of my shopping online, then driving to the grocery’s pick-up lane where they load the groceries in my car … all for free. I sometimes chafe at the produce they pick, but overall in this era of Covid, it is a life-saver for me. I’ve also noticed that some meat is unavailable, but lately I don’t buy much other than chicken or ground beef because of the prices. I think if we all boycotted companies like Tyson, we might be able to effect a modest change, but most people likely wouldn’t bother to participate. Under some conditions, I might feel they earned their profits, but when a CEO can make $13 million in a year while the majority of us have to plan carefully to afford food for a week, something is very wrong. I don’t really see any justification for anybody being a millionaire, but that’s my own opinion about the wealthy who turn a blind eye to the rest of the people.

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        • Thanks, Jill. I wasn’t sure if you had the same options over there. I chafe at not being able to choose my own produce, but it’s a small price to pay for staying healthy. Like you, we eat mostly chicken and pork because they are the cheapest meats available. I have a rack of lamb in the freezer for the Offspring’s birthday, but otherwise lamb hasn’t been on the menu for a very long time.
          The divide between rich and poor has become so marked, I keep expecting some idiot billionaire to say ‘let them eat cake’. And we all know how /that/ ended. 😦

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          • Would you believe I have never cooked lamb and only ate it a couple of years ago when our friends from Iraq invited us to dinner and had lamb-kabobs! The same is true here … that old saying that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer” is easy to see here and the political ideological divide isn’t helping. Republicans are basically bought and paid for by the billionaires and Democrats trying to help the poor are blocked at every turn. “Let them eat cake” is, I’m fairly certain, what many in power would like to say to us!

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            • Oh! No lamb? Is that cultural? Over here, lamb is the mainstay of the Australia home cook. Or at least it was. Ridiculously expensive now.
              Biden has his heart in the right place, but the problems are so big I fear it would take a joint effort to fix them, and that’s clearly not going to happen.
              I seriously wonder how that 1% sleep at night. 😦

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              • In Canada you cannot buy lamb at a regular grocery store. I myself have never tasted it, nor am I inclined to start this late in life. Like you, I eat pork and chicken. I live in the middle of cattle country, but even for us, with no real transport costs, beef is unaffordable. It has tripledin price over the past two years. I cannot start to imagine what it would cost in places with low cattle farming and little butchering.

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                • Wow…lamb and beef used to be staples here in Australia – and rack of lamb is the most tender delicious part. If you ever get the chance to try it, please do. Foodie dreams aside, prices for the things I buy have stayed fairly stable until quite recently. I don’t know whether that’s because so many people were off with Omicron or because the floods cut off supply, but suddenly you can’t get most meats and even if you can, it’s soooo expensive. I guess these are First World problems. 😦

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              • No, not cultural … I just never had the opportunity or desire to try it before! I think it is more popular in your country and most European countries than it is here, for I don’t know anybody who eats lamb as a regular thing.

                I think that the problems Biden is facing, many of which were left to him by the former administration, would require some help & cooperation from the people of this nation (not to mention from Congress!) Trouble is, a large portion of the population are so caught up in conspiracy theories and lies that they will do whatever they can to keep this nation divided and to cause chaos. I say at least once a day that I no longer recognize this country. Sigh.

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                • Co-operation. There used to be a gentleman’s agreement amongst old school politicians, here at least, that truly important issues would get the backing of the Opposition. Things have changed. I wonder how long Western societies can continue functioning once they shot themselves in the foot?

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                    • If humans are to bounce back, they’re going to need to take off the blinders, stop being ignorant fools, and realize that we are destroying not only each other, but the planet we live on. So far, it seems that people are more concerned about their “personal freedoms” than about making supporting moves to protect and repair the environment. Sigh.

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                    • I think a lot of people do care … you do and I do and surely there are more who do. But, to solve the problems of the moment is going to require that the fighting, the bigotry and hatred stop and for everybody to get on board with what needs to be done. So far, I see no hope of that happening. Sigh.

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                    • These days the minority seem to have a louder voice than the majority, at least here in the U.S. ‘Tis why despite a Democratic majority in the Oval Office and both chambers of Congress, the Republicans are the ones mostly calling the shots. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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                    • Yeah, it just doesn’t make sense. I mean surely there were reformist Presidents in the past? Didn’t one of the Roosevelts push through the ‘New Deal’? Have things changed /that/ much?
                      Sorry, I know very little about US history.

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                    • Yes, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the father of the New Deal and a number of other good works programs to help people. Of course, he was also the president who decided to put Japanese-Americans in internment camps after Japan bombed Pearl Harbour, so it’s a mixed bag. No president, no person, will get everything right, but we have had some good ones in the past. In my lifetime, I think I admired Johnson and Obama the most, for they both tried to help people and scale back racism. But what we are seeing from the Republican camp today is very much pushback from having elected a Black president not just once, but twice! The latent racism bubbled to the top and today the Republican Party is, in my book, the party of racism and bigotry, the party that supports mostly wealthy white people, preferably males. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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                    • Ah thank you. I never know which Roosevelt is which. Sadly he wasn’t alone in putting people of Japanese ancestry in internment camps. I believe the Australian govt of the day did the same.
                      I still have a school girl’s nostalgia for JFK. He almost blew up the world, but he did send people to the moon. And Obama. He tried, and I believe he was and is a man of integrity. When he was elected the whole world felt as if we’d been given a new lease of life. Horrible how that’s been twisted.
                      Grrrrr indeed. :/

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                    • I also have the greatest respect for Kennedy and wonder just how much different this nation would be had he not been assassinated before the end of his first term … his heart was in the right place, and that is half the battle. Yes, Obama is a man of integrity and most of those who would say otherwise are put off only by the colour of his skin, which is a damned shame! In fact, it is the very thing that has led to most of the conflict in this nation today. Sigh.

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                    • I was only a kid when JFK was assassinated but I still remember the sense of utter shock I felt. How could such a great man be killed? Why would anyone want to kill him? I was a bit less naive when Robert Kennedy was assassinated, but the shock was no less.
                      To be honest, all through Obama’s presidency, I kept waiting for some creep to assassinate him too. More glad than I can say that he survived his presidency and has a chance to enjoy his lovely family.
                      Re the racism…yeah, i could never work out why the very people who would benefit from ‘Obamacare’ most would also be so vehemently against it. Now I understand that when you’re poor and getting poorer, the only thing that makes life bearable is the knowledge that there are people below you on the pecking order. It’s vile but then humans are pretty vile too.

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                    • So was I … only 12 years old but I remember being on the softball field during Physical Ed class when we were herded inside and told that we would be going home, for the president had been shot. It was a day I’ll never forget.

                      Like you, I fully expected Obama to be assassinated by some white supremacist who took umbrage at a Black man occupying the White House. If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend the first volume of his memoirs, “A Promised Land”.

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          • I wish. We live on fixed incomes, “small” fixed incomes, and the price of foods just keeps going up, and up, and up. Every time the news mentions another problem in the supply chain, including our border-closing trucker buddies, we can expect another rise. We are fortunate in that we buy our groceries with a “World Elite” credit card, which gives us a good return on our spending (getting hundreds a year back on our purchases), except that we were already depending on that before Covid. It still helps, but it isn’t the luxury it once was. And because we cannot clear our balance every month like before Covid, the interest eats up a big chunk of what we used to get in savings.
            I would rather, instead of getting money back, they would just drop the interest rate by 50%. When I suggested that to them, they laughed in my face!

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            • We’re on fixed incomes too so I know exactly what you’re going through. I’ve always hated wasting food, but since the pandemic I’ve become obsessed with not wasting /anything/. Yet despite buying only fresh food and spending half my life cooking, I’m shocked by what I can’t afford to buy any more…like lamb. I’m starting to fear the future. :/

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    • Many of the numbers I quoted actually were from last year. I’ve read numerous articles saying that corporate profits rose at an unprecedented level since the beginning of the pandemic, while more and more people struggle to put food on their table. Rather than raising prices, they could have taken a cut in their profits and helped, really helped the people of this country, but instead they padded their own wealth. Granted, I have a big problem with wealth and wealthy people, for I’ve seen far too much of the other end of the spectrum and was even briefly homeless myself at one time, but I just don’t understand the greed of the corporate upper echelon.

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  6. Pingback: PUT THE BLAME WHERE IT BELONGS. |jilldennison.com. | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

  7. Most people have NO CLUE about what causes inflation. All they know is everything is “costing more.” And, as we know, this is a ideal opportunity for a certain party to jump on the bandwagon and place the blame on the other party. 😠

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    • You’re right … most people listen to what the media tells them, in many cases what Fox tells them, and figure it’s the truth. Even the mainstream, supposedly fact-based media, places the bulk of the blame on President Biden. I sometimes think it would be to our advantage for all television and internet to go out for a month, forcing people to actually read books to get their information!

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