Inflation. Corporations are raising prices because they can.
For a retired worker on Social Security, a public pension and some retirement savings there is nothing good about the current inflation we are experiencing.
Yes. Those on Social Security will see a 5.9% increase in their monthly benefit. That will keep them even with the rise in goods and services.
Those of us on a public pension will lose ground. The public pension benefit in Illinois increases by a fixed 3% compounded. It is not a Cost of Living Adjustment. It is a post retirement benefit that is in no way tied to inflation.
Any other retirement benefit will struggle between investment returns and inflationary loss of actual value.
Today The Wall Street Journal asks the question their readers want to know the answer to.
“What does inflation mean for business?”
The answer: Big profits.
We have all heard the whining from corporations about having to pay higher wages, supply chains, material costs and on and on.
But while partly true it appears to be a cover for price gouging.
Nearly two out of three of the biggest U.S. publicly traded companies have reported fatter profit margins so far this year than they did over the same stretch of 2019, before the Covid-19 outbreak, data from FactSet show. Nearly 100 of these giants have booked 2021 profit margins—the share of each dollar of sales a company can pocket—that are at least 50% above 2019 levels.
Understand that these are increases in costs. These are increases in profits.
A pandemic bonanza for the corporations. And it won’t be ending soon.
“Whenever you have a strong economy, companies will try to capture a greater share of the pie,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist for consulting firm Oxford Economics. “If they have a strong market position and strong demand, then they have the leeway or capacity to increase prices.”
His data show that a measure of profits for all U.S. corporations, as a share of gross domestic product, in the second quarter of this year was the second highest recorded since 1960. One quarter in 2012 came in slightly higher than this year.
Not only am I thinking about my own situation as a retired teacher, my pension and my savings.
I’m also thinking about those 10,000 striking John Deere workers and others whose companies are making historic profits while they must strike or threaten to strike just to keep up.