Wow! What a publicity stunt. And one that our corporate media ate right up.

          McDonald’s announced that it was considering adding a $5 meal to its menus.

          Khristopher J. Brooks of CBS News’ Money Watch said, “The discussions about rolling out a new budget meal come just weeks after McDonald’s executives reported slower growth in foot traffic at its restaurants. Some inflation-weary customers are cutting back on fast-food dining after many chains, ranging from McDonald’s to Subway, have boosted prices in recent years to offset higher labor and ingredient costs.” 

          Higher labor and ingredient costs?

          In February, Daniel Jones, consumer editor for Dailymail.Com and Reuters reported that the company’s “strategic price increases” were keys to its increased profit margin.

          He wrote: “McDonald’s managed to boost profits by 7% as a result of charging customers more for McMuffins, Big Macs, McNuggets and fries. 

          ”A dip in the prices it pays for ingredients like beef and potatoes – plus materials like cardboard for packing – helped the bottom line too.”

          Yes, that was a “dip” in the cost of ingredients.

          At the same time, CNN noted, “At McDonald’s, which has repeatedly boasted about its ability to raise menu prices without denting sales, executives are finally acknowledging that customers need a break.”

          The company had earlier boasted that its higher prices offset the loss of foot traffic.

          Other mainstream media members devoted free advertorial segments to this generous proposal from the inflation fuelers.

          But, by the time Target decided to garner some free publicity with reduced prices of its own, McDonald’s qualified its big reveal by saying that it would be only a one-month promotion. And then it announced the removal of self-service beverage stations.

          No free refills? Evidently the exorbitant overpricing of drinks that consist mostly of water is not profitable enough.

          But,  while retailers were getting free publicity, receiving scant air time was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who has taken aim at Big Pharma’s price gouging of Americans.

          “There is no rational reason, other than greed, Sanders said, “for Novo Nordisk to charge Americans struggling with obesity $1,349 for Wegovy when this exact same product can be purchased for just $186 in Denmark.”

          Pointing out this contributing boost to inflation might awaken Americans to the source of their higher prices. It’s not the government’s fault, it’s the corporations lining their pockets.

          When every other ad on the network morning shows is pushing one drug or another – and sometimes the same one at the same time – we are getting the non-coverage they are paying for.

          Julia Conley of Common Dreams detailed the gouging of Americans:

          “Americans currently pay $969 per month for Ozempic and $1,349 per month for Wegovy. While the two drugs have the same active ingredient, the former is typically used to treat Type 2 diabetes and the latter is for weight loss and management.

          “Ozempic costs just $155 in Canada, $71 in France and $59 in Germany. Danish patients pay just $186 per month for Wegovy, while the medication costs $137 in Germany and $92 in the U.K.”

          Sanders called Wegovy pricing “especially egregious” since the monthly manufacturing costs are less than $5 per month.

          And, if there is price gouging afoot, we can count on Big Oil having its big toe in the profits.

          Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee on May 15, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan reported that her agency, “Uncovered evidence of an oil executive attempting to collude to reduce output, which would result in Americans paying higher prices at the pump.”

          That executive was former Pioneer CEO Scott Sheffield. The FTC found that he “had, through public statements and private communications, attempted to collude with representatives of OPEC and a related cartel of other oil-producing countries known as OPEC+ to reduce output of oil and gas.”

          Exxon-Mobil subsequently bought Pioneer, but the FTC’s proposed consent order would prevent Sheffield from occupying a seat on the Exxon board of directors.

          Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan “just did a little napkin math” on the collusion, saying that if the result was a 40-60 cent increase per gallon, “”for the average person filling their tank, that’s $8 or $10 a week. That’s $500 a year of added cost.”

          On X, More Perfect Union estimated, “This illegal oil corporation price-fixing conspiracy cost Americans as much as $2,100. Per year.”

          It also adds to the cost of everything transported over American roads. The gouging is omnipresent.

          Calling the price gouging “grand larceny theft,” Pocan, a Democrat, said that corporations treat fines “as a cost of doing business…A slap on the wrist isn’t enough. I think jail time should seriously be considered.”

            (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party.)

Price gougers propel inflation

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