(Capital-Star composite image)
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate David McCormick took a swipe at his Democratic opponent Sen. Bob Casey over the weekend, casting Casey’s recent focus on “greedflation” as misguided.
According to a recording of his remarks during the Pennsylvania Society gathering in New York City that were obtained by the Capital-Star, McCormick attempted to shift the blame for inflation and an overall rise in prices onto President Joe Biden. He said the economy is “in a really challenging spot,” that was affecting working families and elders on fixed incomes.
“And with all due respect, there’s a number of Democrats that are talking about greedflation, as the source of that,” McCormick said. “It’s not greedflation [by] you in this room, business people, it’s not because you’re greedy, it’s not because you’re price gouging, it’s because the Biden administration spent $5 trillion [and] has distorted our economy and created this inflationary problem.”
Casey released a pair of reports last month based on research from the Federal Reserve and from corporations’ financial disclosures and quarterly reports, to illustrate how, as he put it, “corporate profits contributed a large percentage to inflation in the first year and contributed much less in the second” after the pandemic.
According to the first greedflation report, corporate profits accounted for all the inflation in the first year of the pandemic recovery — roughly July 2020 to July 2021— and 41% of inflation overall in the first two years of the post-pandemic recovery period of July 2020 to July 2022.
On everyday items like cereal, dish soap, toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste and other items, the report showed how much prices had increased, and the companies’ profits on those items.
During his remarks at PA Society, a recording of which was obtained by the Capital-Star, Casey said a constituent wrote to him about how the greedflation report reflected her own experience.
“She said, quote, ‘I’m a single mom of two kids who’s found it more difficult every year to make ends meet,’” Casey said. “‘I tried to find ways from every possible angle to save money as grocery prices continue to rise.’”
Casey added that the “inconvenient fact” is that companies have and will continue to “jack up their profits.” Between 2020 and 2022, he said, corporate profits were up 75% while inflation was up 14% over the same time period.
“And while they’re jacking up their prices, their profits are going through the roof,” Casey said. “ I call it greedflation, I don’t care what you call it, it’s wrong. We got to do something about families [who] are suffering.”
He rattled off examples: Huggies diapers raised prices by 6% while the costs of production fell by $75 million; Coca-Cola raised prices by 11% and the CEO of the company said it had “earned the right to push price hikes.” The CEO of Colgate Palmolive had “bragged” about leading the way on price hikes, Casey said.
McCormick told the PA Society gathering that “the formula for economic success” is well known.
“We know what to do,” he said. “We need to make this a more business-friendly commonwealth and more business-friendly country. We need to make permanent the tax cut and Jobs Act. We need to get rid of this onerous red tape and regulation which has gotten a lot worse under the Biden administration.”
According to Casey, however, companies had benefited from a “bonanza of tax benefits in the 2017 tax code,” providing permanent tax relief, but then turned around and increased prices despite record profits. “ And I think it’s a perversion of capitalism. So we’ve got some work to do, to hold those companies accountable, and to give families a break.”
Casey also repeated his call to “reinstitute a much more generous child tax credit that is in place right now,” and go back to the Child Tax Credit monthly payments from the American Rescue Plan. The payments, which were credited with bringing child poverty to its lowest level on record, ended in December 2021.
“And then as soon as that version ended, child poverty went right back up,” Casey noted. “Only in Washington, could you figure out the solution to a vexing, decades-long problem called child poverty, begin to solve the problem seismically in a short timeframe, and then go back to the old policy.”
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