Prices are rising and Mainers are feeling the pinch. At the same time, some of the world's largest corporations are reporting record profits.
The mismatch between Mainers feeling the pinch as corporate profits rise is the result of choices made by policymakers over time, particularly at the federal level, that have given corporations greater power over people to set prices and control the flow of goods and services. Now, corporations are using this power to extract even larger profits under the cover of current global supply chain disruptions.
Prices on everyday items that we all rely on including meat, milk, bread, fuel, and electricity have gone up as much as 16 percent in the last year. That's well above the average increase in the costs of goods and services as a consequence of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and changing consumer behavior. From April 2020 through December 2021, corporate profits accounted for 54 percent of each dollar increase in prices compared to just 11 percent on average during the 40 years prior to that period. As a result, corporate profits are the highest they've ever been since the late 1940s.
Against this backdrop, policymakers must work to reduce corporate consolidation and power while also helping to buttress Mainers against ongoing price increases.