In the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, a good king falls victim to false propaganda from his advisor, Grima Wormtongue. This adviser constantly invents information and hides the truth, thus harming the heroes of the novels as well as the king.
That’s exactly what Republicans seem to do to a very popular king, democracy.
In the Congressional Minutes, Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, said a once-in-a-generation pandemic has crippled our economy. Testifying in May, he pointed out that Americans have encountered higher prices resulting from companies slowing production to meet changes in demand resulting from social distancing, vaccination and mask requirements – basic safety protocols that many Republicans view as conspiracies.
Cicilline said if inflation alone was driving up prices, oil companies would have long ago used their profits to lower prices at the pump, helping them better compete with their rivals. Yet many Republicans blame Democrats even though prices are not just driven by inflation, but in response to rising prices and market consolidation.
A small number of companies control a large part of their markets. Such consolidations appear to benefit Exxon Mobil, whose net profits more than doubled in the first quarter of 2022, according to testimony from Cicilline. In addition, four companies control 85% of the meat industry, three companies control 93% of the soft drink industry, three companies control 85% of the infant formula industry, three companies control 93% of the baby food industry. , four companies control 79% of the beer industry and three companies control 73% of the grain industry, Cicilline said. Thus, only a few firms are responsible for the high prices in these sectors, which effectively stifles competition and results in apparent near-monopolies.
As President Joe Biden said, capitalism without competition is exploitation.
Peter W. Johnson