Jiahao chose an article from the Business section headlined “Your Steak Is More Expensive, but Cattle Ranchers Are Missing Out” and wrote:
“This is ridiculous! Beef is now $15 a pound, twice what I paid before! It has to be all the relief checks handed out by Biden that are causing inflation!” my uncle asserted, echoing the misinformation he had gotten from social media. Born in China and immigrated to West Virginia over 20 years ago, my uncle has seen his fair share of economic ups and downs. But somehow, he often blames “socialist” welfare policies.
I dismissed his wild guess. With my rudimentary Econ knowledge, I knew it had to be something other than the 5 percent Consumer Price Index increase that was causing the hike in beef prices. “Your Steak Is More Expensive, but Cattle Ranchers Are Missing Out” by Julie Creswell not only confirmed my hypothesis, but also enlightened me to the real reason behind it.
It turns out Big Four meatpackers have been monopolizing the supply for years. Despite the surging demand of post-pandemic consumption, ranchers have seen little profit increase while meat processors are making as much as $1,000 in profit per head of cattle instead of the normal $50 to $150. Meatpackers don’t have incentives to increase production “as they make more money on fewer head counts.”
I told my uncle the real reason behind the beef price hike, and he said it made sense. Thanks to Ms. Creswell, my uncle will be wondering when a Senate antitrust investigation of meatpackers will solve the problem, rather than blaming “socialist” policies, next time he buys another expensive steak.
In alphabetical order by the writer’s first name.
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