Rep. Katie Porter demolishes media’s ‘inflation’ mythology

Rep. Katie Porter demolishes media’s ‘inflation’ mythology

Democratic Rep. Katie Porter of California has done the never-ending yeoman’s work of explaining how our country’s economic system is fraught with inequality, corruption, and a ferocious lack of accountability. One of her most well-known practices during congressional committee hearings is using a white board and simple math to explain how absurd big business’ assertions and evasions are when dealing with the problems of consumer protections and exploitation. She frequently does this directly in the face of big business leadership, for all the world to see.

On Tuesday, Rep. Porter questioned Mike Konczal, director of macroeconomic analysis at the Roosevelt Institute, about the current inflation hitting the United States, Europe, South Korea, Israel, and the U.K. Headlines from right-wing and traditional media outlets have steadily highlighted the “40-year-high” of inflation being seen in our country’s gas and food prices. Few have pointed out that corporate profits have shot through the roof at the exact same time and to such a degree that saying our current “inflation” isn’t manufactured by big business greed is laughable.

That is exactly what Porter and her whiteboard aimed to show Americans.

RELATED STORY: Katie Porter reminds pharma CEO how much of his $13 mil salary came from tripling cancer drug price

In the first clip, Porter holds up a chart showing that the largest drivers of inflation during the pandemic were the record profits being squeezed out of Americans by corporations. While we all tightened our belts, the one percent kept on taking and taking. Asked directly about the causes of the rising costs of goods and services Konczal explained that the main “driver” was “corporate profit” growing at a staggering 54% clip during the pandemic. But that is not all: That number continues now, at that very same rate. Once you get used to skimming off the top, you don’t want to stop!

But as some real lame media outlets will remind everyone, lots of economists say that corporate profits always increase during inflationary times (which should be a red flag about how our economy “works” in the first place). Porter does the serious work of asking if this is historically “in line” with how corporate profits have increased during other periods of inflation.

Konczal replied, “As it is reflected there, and in other analysis, It is significantly higher in this recovery.” Porter goes on to show exactly how greedy this all is. Corporations’ costs for doing business, as well as for paying labor (that’s you and me), are lower than they have been in decades.

Bigger corporate profits account for *over half* of the higher prices people are paying.

— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) October 18, 2022

Porter then pulls out a graph that shows how since Ronald Reagan sold the American working class out in order to keep himself in hair pomade, “markups” on goods and services have steadily increased over the years. However, there’s a “Top Gun” jump in the markups starting in 2020. 

Markup (noun): What a corporation charges consumers on top of production costs, to generate profit. Example: The biggest recorded year for markups was 2021.

— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) October 19, 2022

Rep. Porter, doing God’s work here.

On Daily Kos’ The Brief, we speak with polling giant Drew Linzer who runs polling firm CIVIQs, comes in to talk about a new poll his team conducted for Daily Kos. He is also here to explain, as a professional, how to not stress out about every time you see a poll going your way or the other way. One thing is for sure though, we are living in historic times and what that means for these midterms cannot be easily predicted—so Get Out The Vote!


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