Casey introduces Shrinkflation Prevention Act to rein in corporate profits

US Sen. Bob Casey speaking at a Labor Day rally in Philadelphia on Sept. 4, 2024 (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

February 29, 2024

US Sen. Bob Casey introduced legislation to combat a form of price gouging known as “shrinkflation.” This comes after months of raising the alarm on corporate greed.

Corporations have gotten away with price gouging and shrinking the size of their products while charging customers more money in order to maximize their profits, but US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) has made it an issue to combat these practices ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

Casey, who sits on the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced the Shrinkflation Reduction Act on Wednesday to crack down on corporations deceiving consumers by selling smaller products without lowering their prices.

“Corporations are trying to pull the wool over our eyes by shrinking their products without reducing their prices—anyone on a tight budget sees it every time they go to the grocery store,” Casey said in a statement.

“Pennsylvania families are sick and tired of digging deeper into their wallets for their weekly grocery runs while corporate CEOs laugh all the way to the bank. I’m fighting to crack down on shrinkflation and hold corporations accountable for these deceptive practices.

The bill would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorney generals to combat corporations practicing this form of gouging. It would direct the FTC to create regulations and establish shrinkflation as an unfair or deceptive practice, authorize the FTC to pursue civil actions against corporations that engage in shrinkflation, and allow attorney generals to bring civil suits against corporations.

Casey has been sounding the alarm about greedflation, which is inflation caused by corporations raising their prices in order to maximize their profits, and shrinkflation since last fall and issued four reports on how the two practices are affecting working families.

These reports come at a time when Casey is being challenged by Republican hopeful Dave McCormick, a former hedge fund manager for one of the largest hedge funds in the world. McCormick has spent most of the past two decades living off of Connecticut’s Gold Coast, which is one of highest concentrations of wealth in the country.

Corporate profits rose 75% between 2020 and 2022, which outpaced the rate of inflation by a five-to-one margin, costing Pennsylvania families a total of $6,740 during that time according to Casey’s first greedflation report.

“Corporations are using deceptive practices like shrinkflation to increase profits on the backs of consumers,” Lindsay Owens, Executive Director of Groundwork Collaborative, an organization that seeks to change economic and policy narratives in order to build public power, said in a statement.

“Charging families the same price—or an even higher one—for smaller products should be illegal and the Shrinkflation Prevention Act is a first step to putting a stop to this deceptive practice once and for all.”

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

CATEGORIES: MONEY AND JOBS | POLITICS

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