We are being constantly bombarded with new reports now about inflation being at a record high. Buttressing these reports are repeated snippets about “supply chain” problems, ships stacked up at ports, etc. From this we are supposed to conclude that we have a supply and demand issue and that “empty shelves” are driving up prices. Been in a store lately? What empty shelves?
The more nuanced explanation of “supply and demand” from economics professors runs something like this, “The direct relationship of supply and demand as the only inputs for equilibrium price creation only really work in a perfect economic model. We do not live in a perfect economic model.”
Meanwhile our hands are now supposed to be in the wringing posture and “Woe is us, what do we do now?” the question of the day.
Sorry, I am not buying it. As a rule of thumb I almost automatically disbelieve coordinated news reports. Too often they are manufactured by PR operators. Many years ago I had a conversation with a person well connected inside FOX and I voiced the opinion that about 90 percent of “news” reports were generated by publicists. His response was that my percentage was low.
My opinion now is that we are being had on this inflation data. Let’s look at what makes up this information. In a word, prices. If prices for goods and services are rising, in a very simple view, that is inflation. Goods and services cost more.
Which goods and services? Oil, gas, food, energy, drugs, medical care, hospital visits. All these are areas where prices have been rising.
Let’s take the pharma sector. Do we have “supply chain” issues at work here? Not in the least. What we do have is rampant greed and price gouging that would make a mafioso on Mulberry street green with envy.
Gas prices are steadily rising. Do we have a supply problem? No. We have a sector absolutely geared to price manipulation.
What are we really seeing? It is a PR campaign. Nothing more and nothing less. The former guy screamed (and is still screaming) “totally rigged election.” But what we are seeing is a totally rigged story of “inflation” when what is really happening is companies are raising prices. That is all.
Always remember that corporate boards have one job and one job only: make money for their shareholders. And that money has to come from somewhere. The largest trough in the financial barnyard is consumer spending. There are things that consumers will always spend money on. Food, gas, drugs.
If you have every wondered why Right Wing mouthpieces are constantly hammering about government interference and why the former guy’s administration put so much effort into destroying agencies with business oversight functions, your answer is here. This is the underlying reason that regulation is blamed for all the ills of society and government is painted as “incompetent” or “obstructive” in wild general terms. That’s a black propaganda campaign too. We are supposed to feel comfortable about those whose job is to rein in corporate greed being axed from those jobs.
Corporations that purvey the necessities of society have been allowed to run roughshod over our wallets. And they have bought the Republican party and some obvious Democrats. They have also suckered other past office holders into trying to appear “business friendly.”
But in reality, their mission has always been “inflation.” But how inflation is described is a distraction from the fact that their bottom line is fed by our purchases.
We need a new way of thinking about regulation of huge companies that are actually the utilities of modern life. Requiring some to become Public Benefit Corporations would be a start. This should be instantly applied to Big Pharma (which would make them scream “Communist” of course).
Enforcement of existing laws on the books like the Sherman Antitrust Act would also be a good start.