Biden Blames Corporate Greed for Driving Higher Prices in the US

(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said corporate greed was contributing to high inflation as he met with union workers in Las Vegas ahead of Nevada’s Democratic primary.

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Biden visited workers from the Culinary Workers Union on Monday after the labor group reached deals or secured extended negotiations with downtown Las Vegas casinos and hotels, averting a major threatened strike.

The president hailed the agreement and said it would contribute to an economy that had recovered under his watch, helping raise wages for American workers well beyond the union.

“We’re coming back. We really are. We have the best economy in the world. Inflation is coming down,” Biden said at a gathering with union members. But the president also said there was “more work to do” and said high prices were partly the result of a “little bit of corporate greed going on.”

He cited the example of a Snickers bar made by Mars Inc., saying that the size of the chocolate bars had decreased even as Americans were paying the same.

While the size of a regular Snickers bar has actually remained the same in the US, the candy has shrunk in other markets, including Australia. Other popular US consumer products — including potato chips, toilet paper, and laundry detergent — have reduced their sizes while maintaining the same packaging and prices to maintain profits during inflation.

Rising costs have remained a persistent political challenge for Biden who has sought to convince voters worried about high prices that the economy is in strong hands as he seeks a second term.

A Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll of swing states including Nevada released last month found that 71% of respondents said the prices they paid for goods had increased in the last month. Respondents said they were more likely to trust former President Donald Trump, the likely GOP nominee, than Biden on the question of who would best fight inflation by a 15 percentage point margin.

Labor Win

The Culinary Workers Union Local 226 announced Sunday that it was scrapping a planned strike by the union’s 8,000 members set to begin this week. The union reached a tentative deal with the Downtown Grand Hotel and Casino, and said it would extend talks with the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas to avoid a work stoppage.

Members from 21 hotels and casinos organized pickets along the Las Vegas strip that resulted in new contract agreements with most companies in negotiations ahead of a Monday strike deadline.

Biden has touted himself as the most pro-union president in US history, even showing up at a picket line last year outside a General Motors Co. facility in the Detroit area to lend his support to autoworkers in a fight with the Big Three legacy carmakers.

Biden has secured the endorsements of several major unions, including the AFL-CIO and late last month the United Auto Workers — support which will be crucial to his reelection hopes. But despite the support of union leaders, he faces a challenge winning over rank-and-file union members from Trump. Blue-collar workers make up a sizable portion of Trump’s base and many labor union workers are skeptical of the president’s policies, including his efforts to transition to electric vehicles.

Biden does not face any major opposition in Tuesday’s Nevada primary but his showing in the contest will set the stage for a general election in which Nevada is expected to be a crucial battleground. Biden carried the state in 2020 on his way to the White House, but the Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll showed him trailing Trump by 48% to 40% in the state.

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