Elizabeth Warren and others are running around blaming inflation on greedy corporations’ “price gouging.”
Of course, this narrative falls apart when you realize producer prices are rising faster than consumer prices. If anything, producers are letting consumers gouge them by not passing on all of their rising costs.
But the “greedy corporation” narrative is great for politicians. It lets them deflect the fact that their reckless borrowing and spending is the problem.
It’s also empowering for them. Now they can come in and fix things!
But here’s a truth you’d be wise to remember — if the government is telling you it’s going to fix something, it probably broke it to begin with.
Warren isn’t the only one blaming business for inflation. Biden is on the bandwagon too. He has specifically zeroed in on meat producers.
Overall, meat prices have climbed 16 percent over the last year. Beef prices are up 20.9 percent. Biden says the problem is a lack of competition in the meatpacking industry. That’s causing “supply chain issues.”
“Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism — it’s exploitation,” Biden said.
According to a factsheet released by the Biden administration, four processing companies control 85 percent of the beef market. The largest four firms control 70 percent of the pork market and 54 percent of the poultry market.
The Biden plan is to distribute $1 billion in coronavirus relief funds to help independent meat packers expand their businesses. According to the AP, the plan would also allocate funding to train workers in the industry and improve conditions. The administration would also issue new rules for meatpackers and labeling requirements for being designated a “Product of USA.”
But a question remains – how did a few big corporations come to dominate the meatpacking industry?
Biden and other supporters of federal intervention into the economy would have you believe it’s just the inevitable march of capitalism. Greedy corporations get bigger and bigger and swallow up the “little guy.” If you believe this narrative, high meat prices stem from corporate greed and the inherent evils of the free market.
But it wasn’t “capitalism” or the greedy corporations that caused this consolidation in the meatpacking industry. It was the federal government.
The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 mandates meat must be slaughtered and processed at a federally inspected slaughterhouse, or in a facility inspected in a state with meat inspection laws at least as strict as federal requirements. Small processors found it difficult if not impossible to meet the federal requirements. The cost was simply too high. Of course, large corporations can bear regulatory costs. As a result, the meat processing industry went through massive consolidation after the enaction of this act.
Since the passage of the Wholesome Meat Act, the number of slaughterhouses dropped from more than 10,000 to 2,766 in 2019. Today, instead of hundreds of companies processing meat, three corporations control virtually the entire industry.
Federal law also prohibits the interstate sale of custom processed meat – meat from an animal slaughtered and processed at a facility where an inspector is not required to be present to observe the slaughtering and conduct an ante mortem and post mortem inspection of the animal.
We constantly hear about supply chain issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. (More accurately, government response to the pandemic.) But the lack of adequate processing capacity due to consolidation was already causing supply issues back in 2015. A report by the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund sounded the warning at that time.
“The bottleneck caused by the lack of slaughterhouses has frustrated small livestock operations in getting their products to market and has led to an inability to meet the overall demand for locally produced meat. The 1967 Act has been one of the worst laws ever passed for local food; what’s more, it was known from the beginning that the Act would have the effect it did.”
The impact on small meat processing businesses was apparent within years of the passage of the act. In 1971, the Small Business Administration (SBA) presented a paper to the United States Senate Select Committee on Small Business titled: “The Effects of the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 upon Small Business – A Study of One Industry’s Economic Problems Resulting from Environmental-Consumer Legislation Prepared by the Small Business Administration.” The paper warned that the cost of compliance would have adverse impacts on small-scale slaughterhouses and packing plants, saying “the Wholesome Meat Act was as much of a disaster for many small meat firms as a hurricane.”
“[T]he meat industries are among the more competitive in the American economy. But the Wholesome Meat Act could lead to a significant diminution of competition. How many firms would have to shut down because they could no longer compete due to the new law? … Would the Wholesome Act lead, however unwittingly, to an undesirable increase in concentration in the meat industries? Questions such as these, highly fundamental questions, were barely raised during the legislative process.”
It comes as no surprise that these regulations caused a massive consolidation of the meat processing industry. And it’s no surprise that this consolidation has led to supply chain breakdowns. Centralized systems are brittle systems. They lack redundancy. They lack escape valves. They are prone to fail under stress. This is true of supply chains, economies and governments.
In other words, this was entirely predictable.
But now Biden wants to fix what the federal government broke by throwing more money at it.
Here’s an idea: why not just do away with federal control?
Supporters of federal intervention will scream “Safety!” But if the Wholesome Meat Act was really about food safety, it doesn’t even deliver on its own terms.
By concentrating meat processing in relatively few facilities, the likelihood of widespread contamination increases. A single sick cow can infect thousands of pounds of beef in one of these corporate slaughterhouses. In a more diversified, decentralized system, outbreaks generally remain limited to small regions. Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense report said, “The Wholesome Meat Act has not led to the production of safer meat today; there are more recalls than ever for positive pathogen tests in meat products.” You seldom saw nationwide recalls in the era of diversified meat processing.
More generally, states with “food freedom” laws that allow small producers to sell food outside of the established regulatory structure have not seen increases in foodborne illnesses. According to Forbes, representatives from health departments in Wyoming, North Dakota and Utah reported exactly zero outbreaks of foodborne illnesses connected to a business operating under a food freedom law. Meanwhile, “Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated and advised the public on 24 multistate outbreaks of foodborne illness, the highest in over a decade, with federally regulated romaine lettuce, chicken salad, and even Honey Smacks Cereal all linked to outbreaks that hospitalized Americans.”
In a sense, Biden is correct – the U.S. needs more players in the meat industry. But the government created the problem and there is zero self-reflection or ownership of responsibility. Only promises to fix what the feds already broke.
This article was originally published at Michael.Maharrey.com
Nevada: Dems Shell Out Millions in Effort to Stop Trump-Backed Joe Lombardo in the GOP Primary
Democrat Super PACs are shelling out millions in an effort to stop Trump-backed gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo in Nevada. Democrat donors have contributed to numerous newly registered PACs that have been attacking the Clark County Sheriff.
Lombardo, who recently received a Trump endorsement, leads the GOP primary field by about 20 points, according to a recent poll.
“As Governor, Joe will fiercely Protect our under-siege Second Amendment, Oppose Sanctuary Cities, Support our Law Enforcement, Veto any Liberal Tax Increase, Protect Life, and Secure our Elections,” former President Trump wrote in an endorsement statement. “Joe Lombardo is the leader Nevada needs, and he has my Complete and Total Endorsement for Governor!”
President Donald J. Trump announces his endorsement of Joe Lombardo for Governor of Nevada pic.twitter.com/5tBkGNVM79
— Liz Harrington (@realLizUSA) April 28, 2022
Since Trump announced his endorsement of Joe Lombardo in late April, Democrats have poured millions into newly registered super PACs geared towards attack campaigns. One example would be the “Stronger Nevada” PAC, has pledged to spend $2.1 million on Lombardo down the stretch of the primary campaign.
Stronger Nevada has no social media presence or website but is reportedly linked to the Democrat Governors Association, according to Breitbart News. In addition, the PAC’s staff includes two Democratic party operatives in Andrew Whalen and Jillian Edelman.
Another PAC, “Patriot Freedom Fund”, is run by the husband of progressive Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui. Patriot Freedom Fund sends mailers to Nevada Republicans falsely accusing Joe Lombardo of being soft on the Second Amendment, Breitbart News reported.
Both PACs were registered with Nevada’s Secretary of State after the first quarter fundraising deadline, which means their financial information will not be revealed until after the election.
Nevada GOP Chairman Michael J. McDonald condemned state Democrats for using “sleazy, shady stunts to sow chaos in our Republican primary.”
“Truman Fleming is the husband of the biggest advocate for gun control in the legislature,” McDonald said. “If Assemblywoman Jauregui was aware of this attack and gave her husband her blessing, she’s proven to no longer be fit to serve in the legislature.”
Nevada Governor Brian Sisolak, a Democrat, is seeking his second term in November.
The state has voted for the Democratic candidate in presidential elections since 2008, when Barrack Obama flipped the state. That may soon change, however, as Donald Trump leads Joe Biden by 10 in a hypothetical 2020 rematch, according to a recent poll.
Providence to Use Federal COVID Relief Funds for Reparations
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza plans to use the city’s federal COVID-19 relief funds for racial reparations. On Friday, the mayor signed a spending plan for $124 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that will pave the way for the city to invest tens of millions of dollars into housing and infrastructure projects. Elorza has not ruled out direct payments for eligible individuals, which would include black Americans, as well as those who can prove Native American heritage.
“As a housing crisis persists across the state, the city is allocating $30.7 million to the issue, $17 million of which will go toward developing affordable units,” reported The Providence Journal. “The remainder of the category will be spent on rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, emergency housing, a home repair program and other initiatives.”
During a news conference on Friday, Esparza said spending decisions were driven by public input sought by the city’s COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Task Force, which was commissioned in January.
Addressing housing and homelessness was identified as a top priority by Providence respondents in a survey asking how American Rescue Plan funds should be spent, according to the city government. Input from “residents who participated in community meetings” was also weighed heavily.
Esparza justifies his city’s use of American Rescue Plan funds — which were allocated to states and municipalities by the federal government in order to deal with the economic fallout of pandemic lockdowns — by claiming the money is going to communities that were “hardest hit” by the virus. The “hardest hit” communities, according to the Providence city government, are populated by African Americans.
“We made it a point to go to those hardest hit neighborhoods and hardest hit communities and get an over-representative sample from those folks as well,” the mayor said. “But it still did not change the fundamental reality that regardless of where you are throughout the city, we have the same priorities.”
$10 million of the $124 million spending package will be going towards a racial reparations program in Providence. A committee will decide how exactly the funds will be spent, but the mayor has not ruled out direct payments to eligible recipients.
A 13-member panel has been tasked with examining reparation work being done in other municipalities and creating recommendations for ways the city can distribute the funds. NAACP Providence President Jim Vincent is among those already tapped to serve on the board, Elorza said.
“While we know the city alone cannot repair the full scope of harm, today’s action brings us another step closer to addressing the disparities our African heritage and Indigenous residents continue to face,” the mayor said in a written statement.
The Providence city government commissioned the reparations committee in 2020.
SoCal Jewelry Store Employees Fight Off Hammer-Wielding Smash-and-Grab Thieves with Their Own Fists! (VIDEO)
Orange County, California – Huntington Beach jewelry store employees on Sunday repelled smash-and-grab thieves with their own bare fists.
Surveillance footage shows thieves armed with hammers entering Princess Bride Diamonds at the Bella Terra mall at about noon.
The brave employees jumped into action immediately after one of the hooded thieves smashed a display case with a hammer and began punching and kicking the robbers.
Two of the employees are a brother and sister who work for the family business, KTLA 5 reported.
One of the female employees hit a robber over the head with a chair.
The thieves were stunned and eventually forced to retreat.
It is unclear if they took off with any stolen merchandise.
KTLA 5 interviewed the jewelry store employees after the melee.
“At some point while I was fighting them, one of them actually hit me in the head with a hammer, on the side of my left temple, but I didn’t even register it until after they left because there was so much like adrenaline going on,” employee Dallas Baca said.
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