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July 11, 2022

Economists: No, Corporate Greed Isn’t Causing Inflation

Economists largely agree that profit-driven corporate greed isn’t causing inflation — despite what many Democratic lawmakers say.

“The CEOs of some of the biggest companies have been bragging to their investors that inflation has created a terrific opportunity for them to raise prices and boost profits,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said earlier this year.

But The Hill reports that “since 1980, the market power of companies over consumers has ticked up an average of about 1 percent a year, allowing them to keep marking up their prices higher and higher above input costs.”

“I am pretty skeptical about the ‘greedflation’ narrative,” Gabriel Unger, a Ph.D. student in economics at Harvard University told the outlet.

“It’s true that markups (and market concentration) have been rising sharply since around 1980. But over almost this whole period, up until the pandemic, inflation has been historically very low. So for most of the past 40 years, we’ve had an economy with high and rising markups, and very low inflation,” he continued.  

“It’s possible that in the absence of the former, inflation might have been slightly lower, but I still think this suggests it’s unlikely that high markups on their own cause an explosion of inflation.”

Chad Syverson, an economist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, says the sentiment is gaining traction among economists.

“I don’t know how many people want to sign up for consensus on this, but there’s been a lot of research that people have found reasonably convincing that says that measures of market power seem to have been ticking up. It’s not unanimous, but more people think that’s true now than five years ago,” Syverson said.

The outlet noted a study from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute (EPI) that found the increased market power of corporations over consumers has resulted in sustained higher prices.

“It is unlikely that either the extent of corporate greed or even the power of corporations generally has increased during the past two years. Instead, the already-excessive power of corporations has been channeled into raising prices rather than the more traditional form it has taken in recent decades: suppressing wages,” wrote EPI economist Josh Bivens.

June 29, 2022

House Democrats Blame Corporate Landlords for Rising Rent Costs

House Democrats blamed private equity firms for rising rent prices during a Congressional hearing on Tuesday.

“This predatory purchasing contributes to our nation’s shortage of affordable housing and exacerbates the racial wealth gap,” said Rep. Al Green (D-TX) at the House Financial Services subpanel hearing.

Data shows that rents are up 5.2% compared to last year, according to The Hill.

However, House Republicans say Democratic lawmakers are trying to deflect blame for record-breaking inflation.

“Another day, another new excuse from my friends across the aisle trying to explain [away] their role in causing record-breaking inflation,” Rep. William Timmons (R-S.C.) said. “None of these attempts to explain away inflation have worked.”

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) addressed the criticism, saying the Republican Party “rails” against rising inflation, but its lawmakers “don’t have any answers.”

April 12, 2022

White House Braces for Sky-High Inflation Numbers

The Biden administration is bracing for a new inflation report expected to show “extraordinarily elevated” numbers.

The Labor Department’s monthly data from the consumer price index (CPI) is imminent, and White House is prepared for sky-high numbers, placing the blame largely on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said officials “expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated, due to Putin’s price hike.”

“I will say that anytime there’s heightened monthly data or inflation reporting or numbers, it is a reminder to us, our allies on the Hill and hopefully to many of the American people that we need to do more to reduce costs for the American people,” she added.


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Get ready for a nasty inflation report

March 20, 2022

White House Recruits Social Media Influencers to Push Narrative About Gas Prices

The White House recruited several teenage TikTok influencers to coordinate a narrative on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, specifically blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for record-breaking gas prices.

30 TikTok influencers attended a Zoom meeting with White House officials, including press secretary Jen Psaki.

A few days after the meeting, 18-year-old Ellie Zeiler, who boasts more than 10 million TikTok followers, posted a video on why “gas is so expensive.”

“Why is gas so expensive, and why is the United States inflation rate at a four-time decade high?” she says in the video.

“I had the opportunity to ask the White House why gas down the street is $7 and here’s what they said.”

She said the “obvious reason” is that demand is going up as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down and people start traveling more.

“But the call was predominantly about Ukraine and Russia, so how does that relate?” she continued.

“Russia is one of the top three producers of oil and it is actually their No. 1 revenue source. Now, with Putin starting this horrific fight between Ukraine and Russia, nobody wants to work with him and do international trade.”


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White House drafts TikTok stars to blame Putin for rising gas prices

March 18, 2022

White House Criticized After President Deflects Blame for Inflation

President Joe Biden received criticism after saying the sky-high inflation is “largely” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fault.

“A second big reason for inflation is Vladimir Putin,” Biden said. “From the moment he put his over one hundred and fifty thousand troops on the Ukrainian border, the price of gasoline in January went up 75 cents and Putin began amassing troops along the border.”

“Make no mistake, inflation is largely the fault of Putin,” he added.

But experts say the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan initiated the rising inflation.

“The original sin was the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed in March. The bill – almost completely unfunded – sought to counter the effects of the COVID pandemic by focusing on demand-side stimulus rather than on investment,” said Steven Rattner, a former Treasury Department official during the Obama administration. “That has contributed materially to today’s inflation levels.”

Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce addressed Biden’s attempts to deflect blame on an episode of The Faulkner Focus.

“These are the same people who have controlled our lives during the pandemic, and now they’re going to twist us, to move us into a shooting war…into rationing food in our own homes. How dare they? This is what has to change in November,” Bruce said.


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Biden claims ‘inflation is largely the fault of Putin,’ not Democratic spending

March 12, 2022

Inflation Update – Make Sure You’re Sitting Down

Inflation hit a new 40-year high in February, reaching alarming levels even before Russia invaded Ukraine, further driving up energy prices.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index increased 7.9% over the past year.

Food prices increased by 1%, and food at home jumped 1.4% — the fastest monthly gains since April 2020.

Energy spiked 3.5% last month, accounting for roughly one-third of the headline gain. Shelter costs increased another 0.5%, for a 12-month rise of 4.7% — the fastest increase since May 1991.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she expects another year of “uncomfortably high” inflation.

“I think there’s a lot of uncertainty related to what’s going on with Russia and Ukraine and I do think that it’s exacerbating inflation,” Yellen told CNBC.

“I don’t want to make a prediction exactly as to what’s going to happen in the second half of the year, you know, we’re likely to see another year in which 12-month inflation numbers remain very uncomfortably high.”

Yellen’s prediction seemed to contradict White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s comments from earlier in the day, wherein she said the surging gas prices would be “temporary.”

“We rely on the assessment of the Federal Reserve and outside economic analysts who give an assessment of how long it will last. The expectations and their assessment at this point is that it will moderate at the end of the year,” Psaki said. 


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Inflation rose 7.9% in February, as food and energy costs push prices to highest in more than 40 years

March 4, 2022

The Suprising Occupation That’s Outpacing Inflation

A surprising occupation’s average hourly rate of pay is greatly outpacing inflation — babysitting.

The average hourly rate for a babysitter jumped 11% in 2021 to $20.57 an hour — far outpacing the 7% rate of inflation.

UrbanSitter, which connects families with child care and other household help, examined data from more than 10,000 families to calculate babysitting rates across the country.

The survey — UrbanSitter’s 11th annual — found an 11% rate hike in 2021. By contrast, babysitting rates grew just 3.9% from 2019 to 2020.

“The bumps that we saw this last year, it was just really disproportionate to anything we’ve seen previously,” said Lynn Perkins, the founder and CEO of UrbanSitter.

Annual increases of 4% to 5% were typical in the past, but “this is the first year we’ve seen it really outpace inflation significantly.”

New York City had the highest rates ($23.45 an hour for one child), followed by the San Francisco Bay Area ($23.32), and Seattle ($21.23). The lowest rates were in San Antonio, at $14 an hour for one child.

The national average rate for babysitters is $20.57 an hour for one child, $23.25 an hour for two and $24.35 an hour for three.


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Babysitting rates skyrocket

February 14, 2022

Inflation Hits New High

Inflation is costing the average U.S. household an additional $276 a month, as prices continue to rise at the fastest rate in 40 years.

The Consumer Price Index went up by 0.6% last month, undermining the Biden administration’s assertion that inflation would fade with time.

January’s increase means consumer prices have risen 7.5% over the last year, the highest since February 1982.

Some of the steepest price increases were in the volatile energy sector, with a 9.5% rise in the price of fuel oil and 4.2% in electricity costs.

But there were increases across the board. Prices rose for apparel (1.1%), car insurance (0.9%), and restaurant meals (0.7%). Rents also rose — 0.5% for rental properties and 0.4% for the equivalent rent of homes people own.

Prices for used cars and trucks remained a large contributor to the inflation increase. They were up 40% in January, compared to the prior year.

Wages are not keeping pace with inflation. Average hourly earnings jumped 5.7% from January 2021-to 2022, while consumer prices rose 7.5% in that same period.


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Inflation hits fresh 40-year high

January 31, 2022

Rent Hits All-Time High

The national average price of rent hit another all-time high, with median one-bedroom rent spiking 12% year-over-year, to $1,374.

The new record-high comes as inflation continues to impact Americans’ wallets.

Zumper, an online apartment rental website, has been tracking rental price data since 2014.

Data shows that the median two-bedroom rent is up 14.1%, rising to $1,698.

“For the national index to move by double digits takes incredible price increases everywhere, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing,” Zumper said in a press release.

“These still-rising prices also reflect a pre-existing housing shortage that will likely continue to push rent up in 2022.”

January 2022: 1 Bedroom Median Rent Prices

1. New York, NY$3,260
2. San Francisco, CA$2,850
3. Boston, MA$2,720
4. San Jose, CA$2,390
5. Miami, FL$2,340
Data: Zumper

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Rents hit another all-time high

January 13, 2022

Inflation Hits Highest Level Since 1982

The price for consumer goods and services in the U.S. at rates unseen in decades, having jumped 7% in December compared to the same month last year.

The department confirmed that the consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.5% since November and 7% compared to December 2020.

Officials said shelter and used cars and trucks were the “largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase.”

Food costs were also a factor, but the 0.5% increase was a smaller jump than in recent months. Household furnishings, apparel, new vehicles, and medical care also became more expensive last month.

The announcement from the Labor Department comes as a blow to the Biden administration, which previously deemed the rising prices as a “transitory” trend, spurred by pandemic-driven supply chain issues.


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US inflation jumped 7% in December as prices rise at rates unseen in decades

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