Washington D.C. – As the Biden administration rolls out “new guidelines for corporate mergers, took steps to disclose the junk fees charged by landlords and launched a crackdown on price-gouging in the food industry” today, government watchdog Accountable.US spotlighted recent research showing why the Biden efforts are critical to protecting American working families from industry abuse, greed and profiteering. *SEE BELOW*
The MAGA House majority that chases millions of dollars in industry money has given cover for big food companies to inflate prices despite growing profits, corporate landlords to shake down tenants with absurd junk fees, and corporations to kill competition through mega mergers,” said Jeremy Funk, spokesman for Accountable.US.
“Unchecked corporate greed leaves everyday Americans with fewer dollars and more difficult choices. And it’s unfortunate so many industry-cozy conservatives in Congress would rather the Biden administration go it alone to do something about it.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Largest U.S. Landlords Reaped Huge Profits Amid Double-Digit Rent Hikes : A recent Accountable.US report found the six largest companies represented in the multifamily and single-family rental industry reaped $4.3 billion in net income in FY 2022 — over $1.3 billion more than the previous year – as they imposed double-digit rent increases, charged excessive junk fees, and engaged in “abusive tactics” to evict tenants.
- Big Food Among S&P 500 Companies That Inflated Prices Despite Bigger Profits and Investor Handouts: A recent Accountable.US report found many of the largest general consumer S&P 500 companies have admitted to benefiting from increased prices as their net profits increased year-over-year and they rewarded shareholders with billions in new shareholder handouts. That includes General Mills that raised prices as it saw its net income increase 16.5% to $2.7 billion in its FY 2022 and saw continued profit increases in the first nine months of its FY 2023. Additionally, Accountable.US found Tyson––whose executives touted seeing “significant pricing power of our portfolio with a year-over-year increase of 7.6%”––saw its net income increase from $3 billion in FY 2021 to over $3.2 billion in FY 2022 and rewarded shareholders with $1.35 billion in handouts––$652 million more than the previous year, including a 948.5% increase in stock buybacks.
- Big Meatpackers Tied to Child Labor Exploitation Have Long Histories Of Worker Abuses and Profiteering : A March report from Accountable.US found major meatpackers that own plants named in a recent federal illegal child labor citation have histories of more widespread labor abuses, price hiking, and soaring profits. Among Accountable.US’ findings: After marking up consumer prices to historic highs, the two largest domestic meatpackers, Cargill and Tyson Foods, saw profits jump a combined $1.9 billion—a nearly 25% increase—in their most recently completed fiscal years. Meanwhile, these two companies spent over $2.5 billion on shareholder handouts, including a record $1.2 billion in dividends to Cargill’s billionaire shareholders.
- Southwest’s ‘Nationwide Grounding’ Foreshadows More Consumer Headaches Under JetBlue-Spirit Merger: Accountable.US’ recent review of Securities and Exchange Committee records found the proposed merger between JetBlue and Spirit Airlines would be a raw deal for consumers. Beyond concerns raised by federal regulators the merger would lead to higher consumer fares and diminished route options under further monopolization of the industry, Accountable.US’ review found JetBlue and Spirit have disclosed underinvestment and vulnerabilities in their businesses that could make them susceptible to the same kind of service failures that left Southwest spiraling last year with thousands of cancellations and delays during peak holiday season.