inflation greed

How much of inflation is simply greed?

In 2021, the price of goods rose by 5.1%, while wages rose by just 2.4%. Over the same time period, corporations in Canada made record profits in the billions.

With inflation currently at its highest point since Jan. 1983 — and with no real sign that it’s going to slow down, despite the Bank of Canada’s attempts to increase interest rates to decrease prices — it’s worth exploring the question of to what degree inflation is simply due to greed. While it’s clear that worldwide supply chain issues, not to mention the war in Ukraine, can have a direct impact on the price of goods, many businesses have evidently been raising their prices simply because they can, not because they need to.

Looking at the rising cost of living across the country, we know that in 2021, the price of goods rose by 5.1%, while wages rose by just 2.4%. Over the same time period, corporations in Canada, such as Canadian Tire and Walmart, made record profits in the billions.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has spoken about the rising cost of living issue at length, elaborating earlier this month about how the drive for higher corporate profits (greed) contributes to rising levels of inflation.

“We know that when the cost of living goes up, it impacts workers and families, but it also benefits those at the very top. We see that those at the top make more profit. In fact we know right now that, according to economists, corporate profits are one of the major drivers of inflation. The fact that corporations are making record profits in this difficult time has contributed to at least one-fourth of the inflation that we are experiencing right now.

The 2021 corporate pretax profit in Canada hit an all-time high of $445-billion above the previous record set in 2018. We have some of the highest profit recorded by oil and gas companies in 2021. There is significant clear evidence that points to the fact that large corporations are driving up costs because they want to make more profit, and their profits are contributing to inflation in a significant way.”

—Jagmeet Singh

In April, Singh also spoke about the rising cost of living, and the false claims that supply chain issues and government programs are the leading causes of inflation. Inflation, according to Singh, is directly caused by greed.

“Here’s the truth: Why is the cost of everything going up? Simple answer: greed. Large corporations, big box stores and big retail are making record profits in this time. Why should you pay more and more just so the large corporations can make more and more profit?”

—Jagmeet Singh

Singh has called on the government to “end the free ride for the super-rich,” and has since proposed a plan that would tax the excess profits of corporations making these record-setting profits in order to redistribute the money directly to families who need it the most. Payments to these families would be between $500 and $1,000.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault has promised a second $500 payment if he wins reelection in October as a way to counter inflation.

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