Four of the biggest U.S. meat processing companies have used their market power to underpay farmers, push up meat prices, and triple their net operating margins during the COVID crisis, White House economic advisors allege.
They claimed that higher labor and transport costs have driven price increases.
However, after analyzing the companies’ financial statements, such claims are not valid, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors in a statement published last week on the White House website.
The companies involved include JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processor, Brazil’s Marfrig Global Foods S.A., Seaboard Corporation, and Tyson Foods.
The statements show that, together, the companies’ gross profits have jumped 120 percent since March 2020, with net income up 500 percent.
The companies recently have announced $1 billion in stock buybacks and new dividends to shareholders, adding to more than $3 billion already paid to shareholders during the COVID crisis.
The soaring profits and lavish dividends do not support claims that prices have risen solely in response to cost pressures, the White House report says.
The White House has “cherry-picked” data to produce its findings, according to the North American Meat Council, the industry’s trade and lobbying group.
TRENDPOST: Once-upon-a-time, America was cherished as The Land of Opportunity. Now it is the land of “chains” and monopolies. Indeed these four companies control as much as 85 percent of the U.S. market for beef, pork, and poultry.
With politicians paid off in the name of “campaign contributions” by private interests, these and other monopolies across the business spectrum—mass media, health care, big-tech, big-pharma, big banks, etc.—political whores destroyed the Robinson-Patman, Clayton, Sherman and Glass-Steagall anti-trust acts that prohibited these monopolies.