UPDATED 12:23 PM PT – Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Joe Biden attempted to tame record high meat prices with more government spending. On Monday, he met virtually with independent farmers and ranchers to lay out initiatives to reduce food prices by increasing competition within the meat industry.
During the meeting, Biden said he plans to earmark $1 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan to expand processing capacity for independent meat firms. The sum includes $275 million in capital support and $100 million towards job development and training. Additionally, Biden will also tighten rules governing Product of USA meat labels among other steps.
The move is Biden’s latest effort to alleviate pressure on Americans at the grocery store as inflation has hit an all time high in decades. The administration argues large companies have stifled competition increasing inflation and higher costs of meat and everyday items for people.
“This reflects the market being extorted by lack of competition,” Biden stated. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; its exploitation. That’s what we are seeing in meat and poultry.”
However, Biden said his problem is with corporate middlemen rather than inflation that has caused prices to sky rocket. The U.S. price index rose 6.8 percent in November, which is the highest in almost 40 years.
Despite this, Biden somehow shifted blame to 45th President Donald Trump despite Trump’s efforts to fight for farmers and ranchers in rural America.
“For example, the Department of Agriculture is rewriting the rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, which was a law back in to 20s that was needed at that time and is still needed to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse by processors,” Biden noted. “The last administration weakened that law, making it possible for the abuse that we’re seeing now.”
Additionally, meat industry critics were quick to blame Biden for high meat prices rather than meat processors while arguing the American Rescue Plan pumped $1.9 trillion into the economy without new revenue streams. This in return, devalued the U.S. dollar.
Furthermore, meatpacking industries and business groups stressed the Biden administration’s steps wont help American consumers, adding promised new government spending to expand independent meat processing will come to late to lower prices for consumers and producers. The market has already begun to balance itself between supply and demand, evening out price hikes.
Looking ahead, Joe Biden is scheduled to highlight the economy’s strengths on Friday as the December job reports is expected to be released.