Liz Warren’s Crusade against “Big Grocery
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Liz Warren’s Crusade against “Big Grocery

Guest
Donald J. Boudreaux
Show Date
January 16, 2022
Categories
EconomicsCapitalismRegulatory AgenciesMonopoliesconsumer protection
Org/Affiliations
George Mason University
Primary Link
Created time
Jan 14, 2022 3:16 PM
Interview Date
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Sometimes a policy proposal comes along that is so bad, it has to be intellectually dismantled before it ever sees the light of day. Senator Elizabeth Warren is famous for such plans. Remember her mantra in the 2020 presidential campaign, “I’ve got a plan for that”? Thankfully, her Accountable Capitalism Act – which would have ended capitalism as we know it – was rejected, along with her candidacy.

But now Senator Warren is at it again. This time she is suggesting that inflation, and higher food prices in particular, are a result of "price gouging" by large grocery store companies. Her solution is to crack down on “Big Grocery” with antitrust legislation, claiming that chains like Kroger are earning monopoly profits while ordinary Americans pay the price. There’s just one problem: grocery stores operate on razor-thin profit margins, and represent one of the most competitive markets around.

Don Boudreaux alerted me to this story on his blog, Cafe Hayek, where I always start my day. He returned to the show to expose the fallacies at the heart of her proposal. Putting aside the more nuanced issue of price gouging (a topic I’ve covered with Don in the past), I couldn’t let Warren’s farcical claims about grocery store monopolies go unchallenged. We discussed whether the idea is born of ignorance, mendacity, or some combination of the two.

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